Dartmouth and Kingswear Society

The Dartmouth & Kingswear Society Annual Report for 2014/15

This report is unusual because it has less to say about what happened in 2014 (which has already been recorded in last year’s two newsletters) and focuses more on the future.

BUT FIRST it is appropriate to pay tribute to three of our stalwarts who after long years of devoted service are finally stepping down. ERIC PRESTON has served the Society for two decades and held the post of Chairman at the turn of the century. He then gave us no fewer than ten years as Vice President, during which time he continued with undiminished enthusiasm as an active committee member, culminating in last year’s successful placing of two new blue plaques. The Society is hugely indebted to him and to Phil Charlesworth who has agreed to replace him as Vice President.

After ending his stint as Chairman, JOHN BALDOCK nobly continued to arrange the public meeting programme and engage the speakers while LIANE BALDOCK carried on bringing her organisational skills to bear on our social events - the Winter lunch, the Spring outing and the Summer Party. Details of Liane’s final events (a visit to Quicke’s dairy and Powderham Castle on 18th May and the party on 24th June) are enclosed with these AGM papers on the yellow sheets. The Baldocks have contributed much to our Society in recent years and will leave a void that will be difficult to fill.

As a first step in that endeavour, the Chairman will take responsibility for the meeting programme in consultation with the Committee. However, unless members come forward to organise the social events, it seems likely that the committee will have to re-assess the practicalities of continuing them.

Committee membership

Members should know that despite our continuing calls for people to stand for election to the committee over the past couple of years and our reduction in the required number of meetings to just six a year, the response has been disappointing. In the past three and a half years, eight committee members have resigned and only one has joined. There is no Vice Chairman and the roles of Secretary and Planning Secretary have been combined.

Your Committee will look closely at this situation and whether it might eventually affect our proper administration as a registered charity. We must also look critically at what we do with a view to change if that will encourage members to become involved. We remain convinced that our core watchdog role protecting the environment of Dartmouth and Kingswear remains as important as ever, especially in view of the diminished resources available to the District Council. We are very aware that people may wish to play an active role in this ‘development management’ area but that other campaigns for the benefit of the community are from time to time brought to us. We are happy to consider such matters and have in the past year given some of them prominence within the limitations of our human resources.

For the record

In the past year we have campaigned for the re-integration of Kingswear station back into the national rail network; protected Dartmouth library from an ill-considered county-wide library service re-appraisal by Devon CC; looked at the state of memorial and foundation stones and notices in the town; sponsored Dartmouth Green Partnerships’ creation of a symbolic memorial Poppy flower bed to mark the WW1 centenary; supported the installation of two new blue plaques and an associated guidebook combined with a revised Town Trail; raised serious concerns about the revised West Dartmouth Development, now scheduled to provide only 220 houses, with just 14% ‘affordable’; embarked on the long process of developing the Society’s policies for inclusion in the town’s Neighbourhood Plan

Organisational matters

Officers elected at the 2014 AGM were Sir Geoffrey Newman as President; Eric Preston as Vice-President; Tony Fyson as Chairman; Kathy Stansfield as Hon. Secretary and Planning Secretary; Jill Rowe as Hon. Treasurer.
*Committee Members elected at the 2014 AGM were John Baldock, Liane Baldock, Phil Charlesworth, Richard Rawlins, Robin Sjoberg, Nick Wood

Nominations for consideration at the 2015 AGM are As Officers: Sir Geoffrey Newman as President; Phil Charlesworth as Vice-President; Tony Fyson as Chairman; Kathy Stansfield as Hon. Secretary and Planning Secretary; Jill Rowe as Hon. Treasurer. As Committee Members: Richard Rawlins, Robin Sjoberg

We will accept any member as a candidate for Committee membership at the AGM itself, permanently or for a trial year if the candidate prefers.

Finance Jill Rowe will present Audited Accounts at the AGM. Thanks go as always to Lauriel Pearson our Honorary Auditor.
Membership currently stands at 344 – 27 down on last year.
Subscriptions for 2015 Subscriptions for the year were due on 1st January. The charge is still just £7.00 per person and £12.00 for two people at the same address

Tony Fyson, Chairman
5th March 2015