Dartmouth and Kingswear Society

Christmas Newsletter 2014

To keep members informed about D&K activities this newsletter summarises what has been happening since the summer newsletter was distributed.


The multi-million pound programme of station upgrades and train service improvements being introduced on the ‘Riviera Line’ between Exeter and Paignton has already given rise to a 20% increase in passenger numbers. This project, supported by the European Union and Torbay Council in conjunction with the Devon and Cornwall Rail Partnership, demonstrates the growing resurgence of railways in easing the nation’s transport problems. Users of the line enjoy improved local transport and by changing at Newton Abbot or Exeter have access to mainline services to and from London, the Midlands and the North. Road congestion is eased and environmental quality enhanced.

The D&K Society believes that residents and visitors to Dartmouth and Kingswear should once again have direct access to this nationally timetabled service, which they have been denied since the Beeching Axe fell on the final Paignton to Kingswear section of the line nearly half a century ago. Re-establishing the service could create convenience and enhanced economic prosperity in the whole Dartmouth area.

But it is also clear that without a proper feasibility study, the relevant Authorities are not in a position to assess the viability of the idea or to take informed decisions. Such a study would need to produce an economically viable plan and in particular it must properly safeguard the interests of the Steam Railway Company, which has done so much over the years to attract tourists to our area.

The D&K Committee is determined that this campaign should not fizzle out as previous local rail proposals have, without the hard information to demonstrate its costs, benefits and potential to meet properly assessed demand. A feasibility study, to be undertaken by a reputable national railway consultancy with particular local knowledge, would cost £10,000.

The D&K Committee has therefore launched an appeal for pledges of support which have so far totalled nearly £3,000. This includes a sum of £1,000 pledged by the D&K itself. The Committee is conscious that this is a substantial amount, but that it only represents about £3.50 per member. It is aware that some members feel strongly that Dartmouth should now get properly to grips with the issue. One has generously promised £500 and another £100.

We are now therefore respectfully drawing the attention of members to this way of enhancing their personal support by making written pledges (or direct donations by cheque if preferred). The D&K is a registered charity and we will assume that personal member donations can generate Gift Aid unless donors inform us otherwise. ALL DONATIONS AND PLEDGES WILL BE RETURNED IF THE PROJECT DOES NOT GO AHEAD. Please write to the D&K Honorary Treasurer, c/o The Flavel, Dartmouth, Devon TQ6 9ND. Donor names will remain strictly confidential.

Recent Issues

Planning applications are now scrutinised every month by a sub-committee. During the period August to November, 137 applications were considered and 11 objections were made. Our chief pre-occupations were to protect the iconic hill-slope building frontages overlooking the river from excessive expanses of plate glass and to encourage affordable housing development. We objected to loss of front gardens in Townstal and to replacement of a stone wall with breeze block lacking a stone facing. We raised particular objection to a proposal to extend the hours of opening at Greenway House and abandoning previous planning conditions as we thought the road access would be seriously inadequate.

The town’s proposed Neighbourhood Plan occupied the Committee on three occasions. It was thought that our evidence to the plan group should focus on conservation, housing, transport and parking, but we would want to gauge opinion at the Forum meeting in February. Survey work, for example on the number of car parking spaces available in the lower town, would be an important contribution we might organise.


The Autumn series of public meetings were:

October – Gary Holpin of the South West Coastal Path Association described his experiences and showed pictures of his walks along the path.

November – Robert Hesketh showed how some Devon papers covered the opening stages of World War One, though the news did not seem to have reached Dartmouth.

December – Professor Malcolm Hollis drew on a lifetime’s work as a surveyor and academic to give a riveting explanation of why some buildings suffer structural failure .

Administrative Matters

YOUR COMMITTEE – Please consider joining the Committee – only six meetings a year necessary. Committee meetings are usually both useful and interesting.

SUBSCRIPTIONS FOR 2015 Subscriptions for the coming year are due on 1st January and are still just £7.00 per person and £12.00 for two people at the same address.

WINTER MARKET-DAY LUNCH This regular mid-winter social celebration, takes place this time on Friday 23rd January 2015 at the Dart Marina Hotel (12.00 for 12.30pm). Please book before Christmas if you can and in any case no later than January 13th. You can find the booking form here.

Future Events

The future programme for the season remains as printed in the membership card. The dates are: - 23rd January Winter Market-Day Lunch (see above) - 10th February Open Forum considering Priorities for the Neighbourhood Plan - 24th March AGM plus talk by Jon Risdon on RML Fairmile - 18th May Spring Excursion to Quicke’s Dairy and Powderham Castle - 24th June Summer Party, Venus, Blackpool Sands

With best wishes for Christmas and the New Year,

Tony Fyson, Chairman, December 2014