Dartmouth and Kingswear Society

Chairman's Letter - January 2023

Dear Members,

Despite the economic and health woes we all face I am pleased to report that the society is in good health, very active and progressing well along the lines advised to you all over the last year.

I want to bring you a brief update now rather than waiting until you receive our full Annual Report in a matter of weeks. Why now? We have finished our series of talks over the autumn time, we have good news to report regarding our efforts to assist Dartmouth Town Council with their Neighbourhood Plan, and we are enclosing our invitation to the Market Day lunch to be held at Stoke Lodge Hotel in Stoke Fleming on 10 February. We want to keep you properly informed. We also want to receive your input to assist our efforts in meeting your wishes for events (see the attached questionnaire).

Before I expand on these matters I have some sad news to report. We have lost recently two stalwarts from the past.
The first is John Baldock who was a former Chairman from 2010 to 2014. He served the Society well over these years and his contribution was exceptional.
The second is Ian Robinson who died last October in Canada to where he moved when he left Dartmouth. He was a loyal and hardworking member of your committee and a former Secretary of the Society. We are indebted to them both.

Returning to the Dartmouth Neighbourhood Plan it is worth reminding you all that it is a result of the D and K pressing for it to be resurrected. The local Council in 2018 had decided not to move forward with the Plan so we deliberately pressured the newly elected Council the following May to undertake the next critical steps. They did so and we were invited to help, with others, to set up the Steering Group whose task was to produce and finalise the Plan. Now, following a majority vote in favour from Dartmouth residents ln November 2022, the Plan has been adopted and the planning policy proposals are now in place and provide legal protection for the community benefit through to the year 2034.

Turning back to our members’ wishes for the activities we undertake I should like you please to let us know what you feel we should be doing for your benefit, apart from the range of activities we currently undertake and, in particular, our regular reviews of planning applications submitted to the local Planning Authority to ensure they are in broad accord with what we deem to be appropriate locally.

I feel I should take a moment at this point to remind you of the D and K’s main aims. We are dedicated to the preservation and enhancement of the historic town of Dartmouth and the surrounding villages, the neighbouring coastline and countryside of Devon. This includes the conservation of both the architecture and form of the built environment and the natural beauty of the district together with the maintenance of a viable local economy in keeping with the character and history of the area.

These aims are wide and all-embracing particularly in relation to planning matters which is why the Neighbourhood Plan is so important in helping these aims.

Your input to us at this time is critical to make sure we are doing what you want us, as your committee, to do in furtherance of these objectives. Please therefore complete the attached questionaire and return, as indicated, so we can be sure we are on the right track.

Thank you all for your support over the past year. It is much appreciated. You will be interested to know that we have increased our membership substantially over 2022 by some 40 new members. 

I send you our best wishes for another successful year ahead.

Robert Brooke
January 2023