This is a post I have placed on our Facebook page this morning:
Yesterday I attended a Town Centre Strategy meeting at South Hams District Council, Follaton House. We formed a group to discuss this issue monthly over the next 6 months. There were representatives from the local councils, Chambers of Trade, or Neighbourhood planning groups from all four towns.
On the agenda was the issue of which town is best qualified to apply for the Future High Street funding from the Government. Only four towns qualify and only one town can go forward from each district. Dartmouth, Kingsbridge, Totnes and Ivybridge are the four towns in the South Hams and it became clear during the meeting that South Hams want to move forward with Ivybridge as their chosen town. The reason for this is that Ivybridge is seen as facing many challenges and they have completed a neighbourhood plan which is supported by the whole community, Both Totnes and Kingsbridge agreed that they were not the right towns to compete for this funding as their justification is weaker than Ivybridge
Dartmouth Town Council has abandoned the creation of a Neighbourhood plan and so is ill equipped to define what we would use the funding for.
This is a very disappointing result and in my opinion is entirely down to our Town Council’s failure to complete their Neighbourhood Plan after about three years of trying. In my opinion the excuse that there was a lack of support does not explain that failure. I was one of the volunteers, among many others, who worked on the plan and we worked hard to provide input to the process. In the end there was a failure of leadership which led to the projects demise. That is just my opinion (Paul Reach).
The supporters of this group need to decide what action to take. We will not be putting in an application for the Future High Street funding as I think we will, rightly, not get the support of our District Council. However we could choose to take the initiative and work on the creation of a Neighbourhood Plan for Dartmouth. We would work with the D & K society who are lobbying hard for this, and with those Councillors who wanted to complete the Plan. So at least we could play a part in defining what we want Dartmouth to become in the future.
That is a decision for the group and I will support whatever decision you take.
Over to you