The Good, the Bad and the Perplexing: Dartington’s new land use map.

Last weekend, residents of Dartington village received an envelope from Dartington Hall Trust setting out their new policy on dog walking on the Estate, which all seemed entirely fair enough.  In among the papers was a copy of the latest version of the Land Use map for the estate.  It contained some good things, as well as some not so good things, and we felt it would be worthwhile creating a space here to share some thoughts as well as to invite your input.

Good things 
Compared to the plans of several months ago, the blue “potential development sites” have substantially contracted, thanks to the focused and, ultimately, correct, objections of this community.  Gone are the sites along Droridge Lane, at Hunters Moon, at Staple and so on.  That is real cause for celebration.  DHT’s Trustees deserve praise for having the courage to stop and re-evaluate what they were doing.
The not so good things
Let’s look at the blue sites that remain in the mix.  It appears very much that Cavanna Homes and Dartington plan to complete the outrage that has been inflicted on local people with the development of Sawmill Field by building on the second half of the field.  Nobody wanted what has already happened, a carbuncle of a development.  To develop the rest of the field would really add insult to injury.  Wouldn’t a community orchard be a better options?
DHTmap3Plantation Field, next to Swallowfields, is in there, which is reasonable enough, and we understand that DHT are discussing some quite progressive ideas for that site, which we applaud.  However, quite what the site on the all-weather pitches at KEVICC is all about we don’t know.  How does a development there sit with KEVICC’s ‘one site school’ plans?  About a third of that site is woodland … is that intended to be felled?The most alarming one though is the huge site that has been submitted between the current Dartington Primary School site and the village of Week.  It’s a huge development!  At a recent meeting of the Dartington Neighbourhood Plan, Jo Talling and Rhodri Samuel presented plans by DHT to redevelop the Cider Press, and to build a new exemplar eco-development between the Cider Press and Foxhole, a proposal that met with a lot of support.

DHTmap2So our key question for DHT is whether the Dartington Primary to Week development  is as well as, or instead of, the Cider Press/Foxhole development?  It is really important to know.  The Dartington Primary development will be deeply unpopular, and will meet a lot of resistance, while the Cider Press development shows DHT putting its own house in order first.
While the new map is an improvement, it is clearly lacking the Cider Press/Foxhole development.  It is the next version that we await with keen interest, the version that will show the Cider Press/Foxhole development, but what it will show on the other side of the road remains to be seen.


It seems from the map that DHT had a review of all its land uses in April 2015.  With a strong commitment to being part of Dartington’s well supported Neighbourhood Plan, I wonder why the map wasn’t aired first at one of the many ongoing Neighbourhood Planning groups? It will be interesting to hear comments from all those volunteering their time to make our Neighbourhood Plan now.

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