No Confidence Vote

Vote No to stop Dartington Hall Trust selling our village and countryside for cash

Demand that the Trust Lives Its values in our village!


DHT threatens to urbanise our village.

Dartington Hall Trust, a registered charity, is currently offering 14 green field sites in and around our village for large scale developments. The fields, are to be included in South Hams Strategic Plan and can be sold off to large developers to build up to 500 houses; widening lanes to roads, losing farmland and wildlife and constructing concrete houses for profit, not local need. The Sawmill Field development will be just the start. This destruction of our village and quality of life is simply to fill holes in DHT’s poorly managed finances.

Existing and soon to be submitted planning permissions- at the Abundant Life scheme at Foxhole, Sawmill Field, Webbers Yard, and Brimhay mean that we will already have to accommodate another 300 homes in our parish. If DHT have its way, Dartington, which currently has less than 800 homes, could more than double in size in less than 10 years!

The planners are likely to say ‘yes’ to development.

South Hams District Council planners are under pressure from the government to provide development sites, but few have been made available in the other 59 parishes of the district. Our fair share of the new houses SHDC estimates we need is 50, not 500 or 800!

DHT property staff have been in discussions with SHDC planners behind closed doors and even DHT now states that it now sees itself as a ‘speculative developer’ (CEO Vaughan Lindsay’s blog).  SHDC have already indicated that there are no major restrictions on any of the 14 green field sites proposed in the plan.

Charity or developer?

DHT is not a developer but an internationally famous charity. It receives publicity, public grants, tax breaks and is exempt from corporation tax. DHT’s stated aims include ‘sustainability’, ‘building resilient communities’ and ‘social justice’- only apparently not for us. Instead of managing its land sustainably DHT, is selling off the family silver for short term gain.

Ignoring our wishes

Whilst not living its values, DHT has also ignored almost everyone in the parish:

  • Over 150 people expressed anger at the proposals and demanded withdrawal of the sites on October 1st– IGNORED
  • Over 1000 objections were delivered to South hams planners and DHT asked to withdraw the sites- IGNORED
  • DHT Trustees invited to meet and walk with local people to deliver the objections- IGNORED. Not one attended.
  • DBDUC asked for an extraordinary meeting of trustees to request withdrawal of the sites- IGNORED after a another meeting behind closed doors.
  • DHT stated they would withdraw all the sites at a neighbourhood plan meeting- but later said only if planners said they could put them all back in again later. SHDC did not say so in writing. DHT DID NOT WITHDRAW.

We are not NIMBY’s- but SWIMBY’s!

So many local people want some low key sustainable homes built for local need. The Neighbourhood Planning process has attracted huge support in our village and creative solutions suggested that provide work for local builders and low carbon, low cost dwellings for local people, not profits for large developers shareholders. We want to see Something Wonderful In Our Back Yard. Sadly DHT does not share our vision.

A No Confidence Vote is a positive vote for our future

It does not affect the valuable work that DHT does in respect of the arts, the estate, or its other social projects. What it does do is send a clear message that WE HAVE NO CONFIDENCE THAT DHT CAN AND SHOULD PLAN THE FUTURE OF OUR VILLAGE.

A high number of No votes will send shock waves through the Trust, interest local and national press and finally motivate trustees and senior management into listening and taking action- to live their values in the parish that they share with us. We aim to present the No votes at a ‘Funeral Service’ outside the Great Hall – to mark the loss of DHT’s principles and values. We hope that many local people will be able to attend.


No Confidence Vote — 3 Comments

  1. I am truly horrified at the lengths this Trust has gone to… it’s “just business”? No – the words trust, and charity, and social, have all been bent and stretched and pulled taut beyond all reason.

    Promises and reassurances are empty, while irreplaceable assets and now even the community and land Leonard and Dorothy built up with a clear vision are chipped away bit by bit, ever weakening and damaging what’s left.

    Must all historic sites, and all smaller towns, be trampled for the benefit of just a few outsiders? Surely not. Please.

  2. It smacks of social engineering and so sad it’s happened! And the actual people who really care about Dartington have been over ruled! As for Brimhay to ask residents to leave their loved homes and destroy that unique community is immoral! There are plenty of sites for needed housing but not at the expense of a historic treasure of a beautiful village.

  3. I’m very shocked, saddened and disappointed at the DESTRUCTION OF DARTINGTON. South Hams is supposed to be, or claims to be an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Dartington is, or was a very pretty village at the heart of it. It is an area which people visit from all over the world but what is the point of visiting a built-up urban sprawl full of concrete, cheaply made and badly designed houses.This short-term and short-sighted planning will destroy any long-term tourist investment in the area. Aesthetically, the houses can only be described as ugly, tiny cramped rows of cheap concrete boxes without any thoughtful design to fit in with the existing environment.
    I wonder exactly what is an affordable house? The starting price is over £200,000, which is above what many first-time buyers can afford. DHT, the house builders and DCC are all making huge amounts of money from this and that is the point of the whole plan. They are the only winners in the scheme of things. Everyone else is left to pick up the pieces – to cope with the massive increase in traffic which is already congested for most of the day between Dartington and Totnes, not just in summer but all year round. It’s an impossible situation – is the school being extended to cope with extra pupils? Have DHT considered what happens when there is no land left to sell and build on? We are all left to live in a sad concrete mess thanks to DHT.

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