Heart of Dartington
What if we could create
something wonderful in our back yard?
Final planning consent was recently granted by South Hams District Council (SHDC) for the development of Broom Park 'St Mary's' in Week, Dartington following a community consultation that can, at best, be described as tokenism.
Unfortunately, the voices of local people (including our District Councillor) were disregarded, and there is little evidence that more than the basic requirements of the experts have been met.
There was nothing stopping the development from being of a high standard worthy of the Dartington and Totnes progressive approaches to sustainability and community resilience.
There was nothing stopping the development from acknowledging and incorporating design aspects from the adjacent medieval hamlet of Week, or ensuring the development didn't encroach on this little bit of history preserved on our doorstep.
There was nothing stopping the development from allowing undisturbed passage for the otters that come up Bidwell Brook from The Dart.
There was nothing stopping them ensuring the survival of endangered The Greater Horseshoe bat by protecting their foraging grounds (beyond adding a bat corridor that would be protected from the lights of the development when the Devon bank grows in 50 years)
Though to be fair, we fully respect that they have made the development a 'dark development'.
There was nothing stopping them from being inspired by the impulse behind the developments at Broom Park and Huxham's Cross where communities were surrounded by nature. (The final design is radically lacking in trees when compared with the rest of Dartington Village - in fact large trees are being cut down on the Sawmills site across the valley as this is being written).
There was nothing stopping them from incorporating more design recommendations given by the two heritage experts who were willing to give input.
There was nothing stopping them from considering the latest figures from the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) report (ensuring the development doesn't increase the likelihood of in flooding in Dartington Village, where the schools are situated, or further downstream in Totnes) or doing flood modelling.
There was nothing stopping the South Hams District Council from asking an independent design review panel to look over the design (something which used to be standard practise).
The solicitors and barrister said there were grounds for a Judicial Review. Unfortunately, the judge said there wasn't.
All we wanted was a more appropriate design which nestled well within our rural environment, sat well alongside the late medieval hamlet of Week and grade II listed St Mary's Church, and complimented the views across the valley from the village of Dartington.
We wanted a design that didn't put lives of future children and grandchildren at risk.
We wanted a design that respected both protected and endangered species and ensured their survival.
Was that really asking too much?
Dartington Trust who originally sold the land describe themselves on their website as a “centre for progressive learning in arts, ecology and social justice”, and wish to be known as a centre for regenerative agriculture.
Where is the design that is worthy of the legacy of Dorothy and Leonard Elmhirst and their experimental visions for a 'many-sided life'?
A massive THANK YOU to everyone who contributed to the fundraiser. The crowd justice page is now closed, but feel free to get involved with other fundraising events that the community are putting on.
WildWest - Bats, Beavers and Bananas
Informal Evening at the New Lion, Meadowbrook
Tuesday, 8th November 2022, 6-8pm
(Note the change of day to that originally advertised!)
Can we imagine this better? What if token gesture consultations became true collaborations?
How it Started
In an effort to reconcile a heart-felt wish to be able to welcome people into an expanding community, alongside a sense of responsiblitilty to both the people and wildlife already here, one brave soul spoke up, and nothing short of a series of miracles have followed.
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