DIG - your candidates

Over the next week or so, we will be featuring the personal profiles of the DIG 16. Hopefully they will give you more of an insight into what we are like. Also more importantly, what we hope to achieve if we are elected to serve on Dartmouth Town Council.


Cherry Godden


I am a mother of four and have four stepchildren and have lived in London, Brighton and latterly in Portugal. I have ended up living in Dartmouth almost accidentally but have become very fond of the town as it is such a beautiful place. However I have become aware that there is quite a divide between the top and bottom of town and this is something that needs to be addressed. This is one of the reasons I am standing with DIG as they are committed to considering the needs of everyone in Dartmouth. I have done a great deal of volunteering over the years and feel this experience would benefit Dartmouth. For example I worked with a housing association when I was living in London and after a bit of battle managed to secure a great deal of good quality affordable housing for the local residents. I ‘d like to see what could be done in Dartmouth along similar lines. I’d also want to see if we could find other uses for the hospital building which of course currently lies empty and finally see more community spirit in the town. I’m keen to help all parts of this lovely town and for this reason hope you will consider voting for me and my fellow DIG candidates on 2nd May

Lucy Williams


I was born in Wiltshire into an RAF services family and as the youngest of 5, I traveled (far too much!) with my family, spending my early years based in Singapore. I landed eventually in London in my teens finally resettling in Dartmouth 30 years ago, along with my parents. During my early childhood my parents fell in love with Dittisham and the close surrounding area and we were fortunate to be allowed to be taken out of school each September (it was more affordable then) to spend a few glorious weeks soaking up the charm of Dittisham (or Ditsum as I’m regularly corrected!) It became a place I could only dream of living near by until 1989 when I made the leap to move to Dartmouth in 1989. It fast became my first “proper home” after a lifetime of moving and disruption a service childhood can create.

My CV is a highly varied one but I shall keep to the more positive, happier career moves! I have worked in Harrods, trained as a glass blower, been a chain store store manager, trained as an estate agent and valuer (until the boom/bust of 2008 where my loyalty was returned by way of redundancy!) … dusting myself off to become a self employed cleaner/house keeper for a further 3 years and more recently setting up my tiny retail outlet in the town, in 2013. The idea for Bird was created on the back of a cigarette packet having seen possibly the smallest premises advertised for rent. I had no idea what I was going to sell when signing the lease but Bird quickly evolved by itself and fast became a successful little enterprise which also allowed me to meet townsfolk and visitors from many diverse and varied backgrounds. On a day to day basis I was, and still am, hearing the gripes and groans of people who live and work in the town and the failings of Dartmouth and it’s ongoing issues. Within the last few weeks I attended the first DIG group meeting and was inspired by finally meeting other like minded individuals who held similar aspirations for the town which in my view, has become somewhat an island - changing dramatically over the years I have lived in and around it.

After listening to townsfolk my core interests in aspiring to joining the new Town Council are as follows - “The Dream List” so to speak….

Emergency heath care - lets get our hospital back open. It could easily incorporate a new Dr’s surgery which is clearly under pressure in it’s own right.

Affordable housing - for the people who live and work in the area and to research other towns efforts such as St Ives which have capped 2nd homes.

To support the vulnerable in the town via charity groups such as the Food Bank and Community Chest - who appear to have been left out in the cold by previous Town Councils. I am also interested in setting up a new meet/talk sub group to help combat the loneliness and life trauma members of our community.

Council owned properties - to ensure repairs are carried out without delay or inconvenience to tenants.

Parking - to negotiate with SHDC to ascertain the possibility of residents parking permits in the town. There are also visitor parking issues which should and could be further addressed.

Police support - concerns have been raised as to security and also the lack of policing in the town and consequent late night speeding seen in the town culminating in the tragic loss of life in recent times.

Connection - to look into the possibility of creating a community volunteer run “Darty Bus” - serving people from Townstal and could also stretch out to Warfleet. A project that would not be too dissimilar to the successful Bob The Bus currently running in Totnes.

Funding/Grants - investigate for local projects to include our younger members of our community - too numerous to mention here but so very much needed.

Young Town Council - create a working young people’s council, which was suggested by a member of the public at one of the recent DIG meetings which would engage our future town councilors at at early age, enabling youngsters to relay what they would like to see happen/need for them.

CAB - to try and reinstate the Citizen’s Advice Bureau in order to help our more vulnerable members of the community.

Marketing - the creation of a working Marketing Group sub committee to help promote footfall back into the town liaising in tangent with the many hard working groups who already work tirelessly at creating fun eye catching projects (eg Music Festival, Regatta and Candlelit to name just a few) to help draw in the crowds.

That’s just part of my Dream List and can only speak for myself, however I do know that many of the above aspirations are also shared by my working DIG colleagues. Engaging back with the townsfolk is possibly the highest priority on our list and we are looking forward to hearing what your dream/wish list is at future Town Council meetings. In order to be able to do this I ask that you vote on May 2nd and you use your vote wisely, but please vote and I further ask that you consider voting for the DIG candidates, if you seek change in Dartmouth.

Kindest Regards


Alisa Kefford Parker


Hello, I’m Alisa. I’ve spent my working life in the world of Event Management, Communications and Change Management, across a variety of industries, from retail, hospitality, advertising, entertainment, conservation and government, in various parts of the world. Whilst working in London, I was brought down here to Dartmouth by friends who’d grown up here. From that moment on, I had found ‘my place’. I found any excuse to be here. I immediately made some of the best friends in the world and felt part of something, somewhere special. Before I could conjure up a way to live here, I would often be found ‘working from home’ on a boat in the middle of the river. Leaving to go back to London became harder and harder, so in 2006, I moved here to raise my daughter.

I have been actively involved in many community activities since that time. I am now a very passionate advocate for justice and human rights, and a keen wildlife and environmental warrior. I am currently in the process of writing a book on my adventures in Africa. Which, if nothing else have taught me that life is short, it isn’t always fair, but no matter what, we should strive together to make it the best it possibly can be for everyone. Given that, I am very committed to representing all the people of Dartmouth, from all their different walks of life, should I be given that opportunity.

I understand, from experience, the complexities of governance at all levels, and know the frustrations that can so often be present when red tape gets in the way of achieving the best possible outcomes for people and their communities. This is why I feel so compelled and excited to run as a candidate as part of DIG - a group of very inspiring and motivated people, all with different skills and backgrounds, who’ve come together with a shared vision and hope of delivering this town an approachable, dynamic and inclusive council, one that represents everybody. A ‘Let’s give it a go, don’t say No’ council.

I am keen to address many areas, including the dreaded parking issue, the need for a neighbourhood plan, an emergency health provision and a 24/7 Police response presence in Dartmouth. I am keen to organise more social events that bring people together, for fun, wellness and an added sense of community.

Please consider voting for me and my DIG colleagues on 2nd May. Many thanks, Alisa

Hazel Lewis

I was born in London, a child of a South American airman and a Scottish mother and I’ve lived in this beautiful town for 25 years.
I have volunteered with several charities, including Victim Support in London and Access Disabled Group in Dartmouth. I am currently a member of The Dartmouth Cool Group, which supports mental health issues.

I believe DIG has no facade and we can work together peacefully as a team with little conflict.

In Africa I saw heartbreaking poverty side by side with great riches (so many lepers) I was forever changed and developed compassion for all human suffering.
This being said, I’d like to see more provisions for those less fortunate and local children to have a safe environment in which to engage in a positive manner. I have several skills which I believe will be useful within the group.

I’m passionate about this town and our community.
Please consider voting for me and my fellow DIG members


Diana Case

Hello, I’m Diana Case. I hope that, firstly, you’ll vote on 2nd May and, secondly, you’ll consider supporting me and my fellow DIG candidates.

After many happy holidays, my partner and I took the leap and moved to Dartmouth in early 2016. Despite arriving midwinter, it felt magical to be here and still does.

Originally from Chester, I spent over 20 years in Royal Dutch Shell, initially at a refinery and later in global roles specialising in learning and organisational effectiveness, change management and senior leadership development. I’ve worked around the world but decided last year, now in my mid-forties and settled in Dartmouth, that I wanted a change of lifestyle and new challenges. I’m currently a part-time Lecturer in Management and Leadership at South Devon College and have busied myself with some of the many activities that our lovely town has to offer.

Standing as a candidate for the town council was something I thought I might do one day, but it was only when invited to a DIG meeting that I felt inspired to ask myself ‘why not now?’ Already, I’m proud that DIG has sparked greater local discussion, hopefully encouraging more people to use their vote and certainly offering voters a wider choice of candidates. I believe this can only be positive.

My vision for Dartmouth is that it’s a happy, healthy and prosperous place for residents to live and work, and attractive to tourists and visitors. If elected, I’d look for ways to foster a greater shared sense of community between the top of town and the town centre. I’m keen on responsible and sustainable guardianship of our town’s assets. I’m also keen to explore how to better support local businesses and the great work done by our many local charities, groups and clubs that benefits all members of our community. Last, but by no means least, I’d want to use our collective power to lobby decision-makers on issues outside of the Town Council’s direct control, the most significant, arguably, being a solution to our currently inadequate local health and social care provision.

I am willing and able to speak up for what I believe is right and, more importantly, to listen. I am told I have a lot of common sense and good judgement, which is reassuring, and a good sense of humour, which is rather pleasing. Please consider voting for me and my DIG colleagues on 2nd May.


Dawn Shepherd


I moved to Dartmouth 15 years ago with my family. I have been a campaigner for animal rights all my life and worked in factories, cleaning, waitressing ,in shops and at a rescue centre in the Midlands. I have also worked with the NSPCC and domestic violence charities.
I love this town, it’s beautiful, but what makes it special for me is the people who live here, our community. We might have our differences but when help is needed we all pull together for the good of our town and the people in it.
Nine years ago I could see the struggle locals had with seasonal, low paid, insecure work and so I started the food bank and four years later Dartmouth Community Chest. During this time I’ve learned a lot about the many problems that face the people of our town and villages, the cost and time to get to appointments out of town, the lack of services and transport, isolation and the lack of opportunities and housing for families and young people.
I am a Mother and Grandmother and don’t want my family to have to move away through lack of jobs and housing and I don’t want that for your families either. We need to work together to make sure our town can provide all they need. I believe this is possible if we work together and everyone is listened to and allowed to be part of our town’s future through an open, transparent council that keeps the community at the heart of all it does.
I want to work with our community to try and find solutions to the hardships locals face and create a fairer town for all who live here. I believe that all the people I have met through Dartmouth Initiative Group (DIG) have the knowledge and skills to benefit all of our town and I am proud to stand with every one of them. I hope that you will vote for all our candidates at the local elections on the 2nd of May.

Mandy Webber


Hi, my name is Mandy Webber, born and bred in Dartmouth, I’ve lived in many different places in Devon, but always seem to return home. I live with my father John Webber and I work in the care industry. I’ve been a manager in the learning disabilities sector as well as working in Dartmouth with the elderly in their own homes, making their remaining time as comfortable as possible. Therefore the issue of health provision within Dartmouth is very close to my heart and how as a community we move forward to combat this obvious shortfall. I love sport playing football and rugby. In the past I captained the South West of England squad in Rugby and played in the Premier League. I believe getting our youngsters involved in activities would focus them in the right direction. My passion is my dog and I enjoy long walks around this beautiful area enjoying all aspects of the wildlife which is lovely to have on our doorstep. I feel being part of DIG is such a positive way forward and as a group of councillors we can genuinely represent the community that is Dartmouth. Let us be your voice and bring positive changes. Please consider voting for me and my fellow DIG candidates on 2nd May.


Jessica Pinder


Hi my name is Jessica Pinder, born in Yorkshire I’ve lived in Devon since
1991 and Dartmouth for the last 4 years with my little girl.
I have been involved with Dartmouth Community Chest but due to personal
circumstances had to reduce my involvement. I popped into the Flavel to pick up a loaf of bread and some other food items and have a cup of coffee and a chat and I was told about DIG. It was suggested that I stand for the council as part of this amazing team. So here I am
Dartmouth lacks in services for Health and Wellbeing as well as support for young families and single parents. There is a significant lack of support services especially significant trauma, though the local charities we do have, we should be proud of. If it wasn’t for them then I’m not sure what I would have done over the last few years.
I want to change this and bring back and introduce more services to Dartmouth and continue to support those local charities and their amazing hard work.
I hope you will vote for me and my DIG colleagues on May 2nd.




Dartmouth is a historic town with a proud identity. I have been associated with Dartmouth in various ways for many years, but only came here, finally, to live last year when I retired from the IT and Finance industries where I was able to live and work around the world and experience many different lifestyles, environments and cultures.

Having worked for a number of Computer Games companies, Banks and Financial institutions, my final role before retiring was in Canada as a Director of Visa Canada, where I also met my wife, a Canadian, who now lives with me in Dartmouth.

As a candidate for Dartmouth Town Council I believe in:

Fighting to regain NHS services in Dartmouth and to continue my work with the Heart of the Dart campaign
Ensuring Dartmouth is better connected; both its transport and its digital links
Protecting our town’s green spaces and our unique identity and history
Ensuring that Dartmouth is a safe and friendly town where families and young people are supported
Ensuring that jobs and services are available so families do not have to move to obtain a future
Ensuring the council is visible, transparent and working for the people of Dartmouth
Re-launching the neighbourhood plan for Dartmouth

Dartmouth needs councillors who represent all of Dartmouth’s communities, who put the people first, have a clear vision for Dartmouth’s future and who bring real life experience in business and community roles to the table.

Dartmouth is ready for change, so please vote on 2nd May for a new Town Council and if you see me around town, please feel free to stop me and have a chat.

Our Dartmouth, your Future. Dartmouth Initiative Group (DIG). Candidate for Dartmouth (Clifton) 2nd May 2019.



Hi I’m Sally, mummy to 4 beautiful children and part of the team at The Dolphin.
I moved to Devon 15 years ago from Manchester, 10 of these have been spent in Dartmouth and it’s the best decision I’ve made to date. The people here are not only welcoming but also some of the kindest people I’ve ever met.
I love Dartmouth, it has great sense of togetherness that I’m proud to be part of, it’s like one big happy family. 
Being a mother means I’m passionate about children, providing excellent opportunities for the youth of the town. To deliver this, we need to grow as a community, to have both our ideas and concerns listened to and to move with the times.
I’m passionate about about housing, about employment, so much so I created a housing group on Facebook a few years ago because I knew a lot of people wanted to swap accommodation. I ended up handing the reins to someone else as the demand got too much, but last time I looked it had over 40,000 members! There was a lot of demand for jobs, so I made another group which currently stands at nearly 2,500 members!
I love my Manchester but Dartmouth is my home!
Please consider voting for not only me, but the other DIG members in your ward. 6 in Townstal, 10 in Clifton



Ged Vardy


Hello, my name is Ged Yardy. Please vote for me and my DIG colleagues on May 2nd.
I want to create an environment for children and families to prosper and stay in our town with affordable housing and sustainable jobs. I live in Dartmouth with my wife and two children. I am a former cub scout leader, I currently teach junior sailing and enjoy rowing, sailing and generally being out on the water. I want to put back into Clifton and Townstal communities.
I am passionate about finding a solution to Dartmouth’s Healthcare challenge and want to use my experience in life-sciences and healthcare to obtain funding for this crisis. I also wish to use my knowledge to apply for grants to support the incredible charities that give our young and old access to social support, clubs and activities in the town. This includes the amazing events and festivals that are so important in attracting many people to visit Dartmouth and making our town a great place to live.
Most of all it is important for me to listen to the needs of the townsfolk and work positively with all groups, bringing Townstal and Clifton together to create a vibrant community spirit.



Lynn Gunnigle


Hello my name is Lynn Gunnigle please consider voting for me and my DIG group members in the upcoming Town Council elections.
I was born in the great City of Liverpool and raised in Lancashire. I have lived in South Devon for 28 years, 9 of them in Dartmouth and have raised my family here.

My first job was as a waitress; I have run a traditional dance troupe in Lancashire and worked in my own cleaning company in Devon.

If I am elected to serve Dartmouth I promise to do my very best for Dartmouth and do what is right and sensible for the town and everyone who lives here.
I am keen to support small and family run local business ,balancing the requirements of our local work force too.
I am part of the Heart of the Dart Hospital campaign group and passionate about reopening, refurbishing and reinstating our Hospital and lost services and saving the NHS.
My concerns are not just for our senior and vulnerable residents but also their carers .
I represent Dartmouth at the Save Our Hospital Services Devon campaigns when possible.
My other concerns are developers riding rough shod over our historic town and giving little thought to the residents, social injustice and climate change.

I am a proud member of the Candlelit Dartmouth Team, in the past fundraising via our handcrafted market and now assisting in the lantern making /craft workshops. I am a member of the Labour party but believe that at Town Council level there is little room for party politics hence my decision to stand with DIG.


I have lived in Townstal all my life. I was educated in Dartmouth until the Sixth Form, when I went to the Kevic Sixth Form College in Totnes.
I have always worked locally starting off as a kitchen porter down in Dartmouth and working at Mr Sam’s on Ivatt Road before it closed. I currently work in the Royal Naval College as a Data Manager for one of the contractors.
I have a keen interest in computing, gaming and sometimes over the top interest in Sci- Fi.
Unlike many of our other candidates who have always been a part of the town community I was until recently, happy enough just to go to work, live my life outside of the town and to tut at the latest goings on in the Dartmouth Chronicle. It was only by chance I was invited to the initial DIG meeting by Pam Barrett, a councillor from Buckfastleigh.
I had heard of the changes at Buckfastleigh, Frome and a few other towns in the country. But I never thought something like it would happen in Dartmouth. So I became part of the group expecting to help with admin, leafletting etc. However I was persuaded to put myself forward as a candidate and am standing because I think local politics needs to change.
Possibly this bio isn’t the best advert for people to vote for me, but it is the truth and I leave it to the voters to decide if I’m worth a shot.

Cathy Campos

For me Dartmouth was love at first sight. I came here on holiday in June 2014 and just knew that this was where I wanted to live – a year later I moved here permanently. I have never regretted doing this. Even now, I have to pinch myself when I’m walking my dog Olli along the embankment and think “Do I really live here? “ Dartmouth has so much to offer natural beauty and an incredibly friendly community, who have always made me feel very welcome and at home.

Before I moved here I ran my own PR Agency specialising in video and mobile games for over twenty years. I have often thought I would like to use the experience of running a business for the benefit of the town.

If I was to be elected alongside my DIG colleagues, I would like to look into resurrecting the neighbourhood plan. I would also be far more supportive of the impressive charity and campaigning work that goes on in the town. From talking to my DIG colleagues, improving the town for children and young people is also a priority. With my PR hat on, we need to look at new ways to attract tourists and businesses to the town but also in a complementary way to resident’s needs.

Lots to do, so lucky that I have a hands on approach and a can do attitude.
DIG’s philosophy of listening to people and being accountable to them dovetails with my own. For these reasons I hope you will vote for me and all of them on 2nd May.

Adam Edsell


Sixteen years ago my wife Helen & I moved to Dartmouth in search of a better life and have sought to be an active part of this community ever since. Through our various enterprises – Dartmouth Ice Cream, Home and then White Sails Gallery – we have always felt like we belong here and have been made to feel welcome every step of the way. But in recent years that sense of unity in the town has seemed under threat and I believe that Dartmouth Town Council has an important role in bringing the town together and working for all sections of the community. I want to see a council that is open, welcoming, active, energetic, positive and even-handed. Everyone should feel that they can approach the council or attend meetings to help solve the local challenges they face. It should be a council that routinely says “Yes, let’s try it” as opposed to “No, I don’t think so”. It should be a council that takes a strong lead on issues such as local emergency healthcare, the Neighbourhood Plan and a local future for young families. We should be supporting local organisations, helping those in need in the town, and trying to attract grant money and investment to seek modern solutions to the town’s problems. As a group of new councillors we can significantly change the way in which our Town Council works for us all and I sincerely hope that you will vote for all of DIG’s candidates in order to make this a reality.

Graham Webb


Hello, my name is Graham Webb, born and raised in Townstal; I have always worked in Dartmouth and the surrounding area. I have been a window cleaner, portrait and wedding photographer and photo lab technician and manager. I now work as a gardener having trained to RHS Qualifications at Bicton College near Exeter.I’ve sat on the committee of the D.A.B.A., our local angling club in Oxford Street, where I’ve shared some good times fishing and socialising (and a few beers!) with some great people. I also chair the meetings of Dartmouth Community Chest, a vital charity for Dartmouth and the surrounding area.I think I have a good sense of humour, a quality also needed by my teammates when they see me play football or cycle!!I have always had a love of sport and still play football and mountain bike regularly and recently completed a 200 mile, 3 day mountain bike event for Children with Cancer UK.All my children have been to school here but sadly they have all left the area because of lack of opportunities locally. This is something I feel needs to be urgently addressed.All people in Dartmouth need to be listened to and treated with respect. This is everyone’s town and everyone has a right to be heard. There is a saying ‘If it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ Well it is ‘broke’ so as a community let’s try to fix it.

Blog Stats

  • 34,530 hits


  1. Well I smell a rat and I hope voters in Dartmouth ask for a lot more information from the DIG group before they are tempted to vote them on to the Town Council

    The DIG group imply there are solutions to the decline in the High Street and that if everyone works together and we try something new, they can reverse the trend

    Well pigs can fly and I do not believe the trend in high streets like ours can be reversed. Our town has lived through many changes in the past and its great strength has been to embrace change and move on. In the past we once made money conveying pilgrims across the channel to Compostella and exploited the Bordeaux wine trade monopoly given to the town by Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine. We were once an important fishing port which sent its sailing trawlers to the Grand Banks to catch cod. Then we built lightships at Noss shipyard for Trinity House and after WW2 we became an important base for Royal Navy warships. We even became a railhead for transatlantic passengers embarking their liners at Kingswear. And we were once the town where all the local farmers brought their animals and produce to market. And all these have gone and the town moved on.

    We are now a town with an important shell fish industry and a Mecca for yachtsmen. But our tourist industry is in steep decline and more of our young residents earn a living caring for the older people who choose to live here in retirement. District nurses, opticians, chiropodists, pharmacists, taxi drivers, care assistants, paramedics, the list goes on.

    Whether the DIG group like it or not we are becoming a retirement town and we should grasp this opportunity with both hands and not try to turn the clock back.

    The DIG group seem to think they can turn the clock back and with vague ideas about working together and trying new ideas. Well Mary Portas tried a lot of new ideas and in her 17 Portas towns not one reversed the closure of High street shops which went on closing despite spending a lot of money to reverse this.

    When all the time the decline in high streets was about the growth in internet shopping. And the new shopping habits which are not going to change because of a group of new town councillors who are going to try some “new” ideas.

    Well my young family did nearly all their Christmas shopping on the internet last year and we didnt buy any of our presents from Dartmouth shops.

    And let’s make no bones about it, trying to reverse the decline of Dartmouth’s High Street will cost money. Money the shopkeepers refused to spend themselves by supporting the Dartmouth BID. And money which the Town Council receives from its council tax precept and from the Dartmouth Trust each year, and which the DIG is eyeing up to spend on ideas which do not even exist at the moment.

    The road to hell is paved with good intent and are we going to hand them a blank cheque book of tax payers money to fritter away on new ideas ?

    I think the present mayor and the present town council have done a good job over 4 difficult years supporting all sorts of good causes in the town. And if the electorate gives all this to a street of failing shops it will be money wasted and the decline will continue.

    If you do go to their meetings you should ask them what are their ideas and how much are they going to cost and who will foot the bill - the shopkeepers themselves or council tax payers ? And if they say they will apply for government grants do they realise that much larger towns and cities will take precedence, and grants will not be awarded for schemes that have already been shown to fail elsewhere

    • Thanks Brian.

      I think you’ll find the “shopkeepers” are in fact council tax payers at home AND business rate payers at work, so yes, we would like to see some results for our hard-earned money! You talk as if you would be doing us a personal favour by helping out the tourist industry….. I find that offensive, and sorry, otherwise I don’t see your point!?

      • Sadly Trish, Brian has never understood the importance of the economy of the town and the key role that the business community plays in that economy. He has also missed the fact that tourism is booming during the Brexit uncertainty but dartmouth is not getting its fair share of that boom. I for one feel we could be doing so much better and, with a better town council we could work with them to encourage our economy to thrive again.

        • Yes Paul, tourism was important to the economy of the town, but that is changing and the argument is whether tourism can be resurrected to its former importance or whether it is gone for good. And if like Mary Portas there are those who want to try and resurrect tourism, who is to pay for it if the shopkeepers arent prepared to pay themselves. And if I can let the DIG group into a secret, Dartmouth residents dont like tourists, and are happy to see the back of them, along with the shops that sell them trinkets and we dont use, the car parking problems they create, the litter they drop and the seagulls they feed. The old shibboleth was that Dartmothians didnt want Dartmouth to become another Salcombe which is an attractive town much sought after by retirees. Well Dartmouth is already well down that road and I urge voters to see this as a new opportunity. And if your daughter or grand daughter is uncertain whether to become a poorly paid shop assistant in Dartmouth or a well paid district nurse, I would strongly advise the latter. And what is the true answer to all of this ? Just look in the windows of the estate agents and see the house prices.

          • As you know Brian the shop keepers were prepared to pay when at least 2 out of three businesses who voted, voted for the BID. That is not the issue, Also Mary Portas had nothing to do with tourism, she was just interested in the high street retail sector. Tourism is the only industry we have in Dartmouth at present so we must make the best use of our assets to encourage a vibrant economy. Without it there will be no employment and no youngsters left in the town. I agree it will be good if we can diversify into non tourism sectors but that wont happen quickly, especially if no-one is leading the drive to encourage non-tourist businesses to locate here. Lets hope the DIG candidates can encourage this.
            Incidentally the youngsters are starting many new businesses in Dartmouth now so they don’t have to be shop workers, they can actually own the shops themselves. Now isn’t that encouraging!

          • Mr. Boughton, what an attractive picture of the future Dartmouth you paint! Even more retirees serviced by our young people, probably in extremely poorly paid carer roles, as not everyone can achieve a nursing career - at degree level these days! I hope that all the young people at The Academy are desperate to work looking after old people…. can we not do better for them? I really hope so! As Paul says, many now own their own businesses, and more opportunities can only be a good thing. Surely it’s worth trying new approaches, and fresh ideas for the town? I am not sure why you are so fixed on “shopkeepers” - there are many other businesses here, take a look at By the Dart some time!

  2. Interesting comment. Pigs can’t fly but then neither can humans but there is a hell of a lot of air travel going on and I’m sure everyone told the wright brothers it couldn’t be done!
    Yes new blood may be naïve but with it comes an enthusiasm for change and a passion to see it succeed as you rightly say change is inevitable and often required to progress.
    No body doubts that previous town councillors have done their best and given up time voluntarily to serve the place where they live and benefit the town by doing so; this is just a fresh wave of residents willing to step up to the plate. Please think before being put off by negativity.

    • Dear Paul

      I know well informed people in Dartmouth who are alarmed how you overlook the obvious. If the shop keepers were prepared to pay for the BID, why did it fail. And three of the Mary Portas towns were tourist towns so why you are trying to mislead people about this. Tourism is not the only industry we have in Dartmouth and as I have pointed out tourism is in steep decline and other sectors are in the ascendancy, particularly the care industries looking after Dartmouth’s retirement community. Your assertion that without tourism there would be no longer be any youngsters in Dartmouth is an outrage and I invite you to ask others in Dartmouth with a deep understanding of youth employment to give their views. I will only be voting for someone who sees the future of Dartmouth as a retirement town and if you doubt the opposite views of the DIG group then ask them. For the most part they are a bunch of small town retail failures who want to get their hands on tax payers money and I will not accept this

  3. All interesting views Brian, from someone who left the town, but you have to admire their willingness to get involved in a difficult challenge and I for one will be voting to give them the chance. The existing council has not only presided over the economic decline but also refused my request to simply discuss the footfall decline. They have made no attempt to improve the promotion of the town despite owning the Dartmouth Visitor Center which has that responsibility. I struggle to see how can you see that as a good job?

  4. Oh and this Council also abandoned the Neighbourhood Plan, meaning we could not qualify for funding under the Governments Future High Street Fund. That decision went to Ivybridge because they had an approved neighbourhood Plan which had received over 3500 votes from their community. We achieved nothing after three years trying.

  5. I can only commend anyone that instead of moaning “they should do something” gets up and decides to be one of those that will actually try to do something.
    These new candidates, if elected, may acheive many things, or may not. However, what is important is that they tried.

  6. Dear Dan

    I can understand your sentiments but what if these new DIG candidates for the town council fail in their quest to reverse the decline of the High Street and in the process waste spend a lot of public money ? They have no firm plans but only a vague idea that something must be done and everyone should pull together. This sort of experience has happened in Altrincham where the closure of High Streets shops was among the highest in the country. Even the charity shops closed and all that was left were pawn brokers and betting shops. The construction of a new shopping centre , the Grafton, simply worsened the plight of the High Street and when the developers of this pulled out, the local council had to buy it. The result was what in a former age was an attractive new shopping centre, but the new outlets remained vacant and the council is faced with an empty new shopping centre and calls for more council investment. Dartmouth Town council is wise to tread carefully when it comes to the decline in its own High Street and if these DIG candidates get on to the council it is not difficult to imagine their ever increasing demands for public investment. Rent capping, abolition of business rates, free parking, unsecured business loans, council marketing schemes, the list would just go on growing because people are very good at spending other people’s money. And all the time the companies who do know about business are pulling out of High Streets. The loss of Dartmouth’s Woolworth’s was a seminal loss, and then all three banks. It will only take the loss of Marks and Spencers and the whole retailing sector could collapse. And what will the DIG group do to reverse this ? Well they tell us they will work it out once they get on the council. Phew !

  7. Dear Brian,
    I have no axe to grind in any direction, but would suggest that if you have a plan, then put yourself forward for the council. If your views are popular with enough people you may get voted in, then you will have the opportunity to press forward with your views. If it doesn’t work out, then at least you also could say you tried to change things in the direction you believe us correct. If you don’t try, then negative comments against others efforts become part of the problem. As I say, I admire and respect anyone trying to improve things, no matter if I personally support the ideas or not.

  8. Dear Dan

    I see your point but disagree. Firstly I served for 5 years on the District and 8 years on the Town Councils. An during that period we achieved the Sainsburys and Lidls supermarkets, the Community hall and indoor swimming pool. Also the Norton Leisure Centre and Norton Sports pitches. The affordable homes in Chestnut Close, three pedestrian crossings, the recycling refuse service, seagull proof refuse sacks, a new bus serice and 12 covered bus stops. A new lifeboat and lifeboat station and on and on - thats only half the list. Most of all we created an atmosphere for change in Dartmouth and i can tell you hand on heart that many of people standing in this DIG group will cause nothing but acrimony and argument. And they will persuade their District colleague in othjer market towns and on the District council to turn their back on Dartmouth . So I have done more than my bit for the town and I have every faith the core of present town council is the best option for the future. As regards any plan I may have to turn the town into a propserous retirement town for wealthy new residents, I dont have to have a plan. Its happening any way and will happen whatever the DIG group say. But the days of quick and cheap day trippers is over and I think Dartmouth will continue as a great town but in yet another guise. It has had many you know.

  9. Dear Brian
    I think its fair to say acrimony and argument have appeared to be part of the council for a while now, no doubt you saw some of this during your time, and still you managed to achieve things as part of such a group, so if your fears or forecasts do come true, new members may take hope that even during such times things may change and move forward. As someone just recently moved back into the area I would thankyou and anyone else that contributed to the list of achievements you proclaim, and look forward to saying similar thanks to any future councillors, either new, existing or past returning, for anything they are able to bring to Dartmouth that helps it prosper and benefits those that live in the area. As I said initially, I have no axe to grind.

  10. Dear Dan

    You may know that town council politics is supposed to be non party political but most of this DIG group show every sign of belonging to one party. And if they cannot demonstrate they represent views across the party political spectrum and across the community of residents they will not generate the consensus for any attempts to turn the clock back. Some of their views are beginning to emerge and I have to say they have been considered before, and rejected. There is so little money in local government these days that anyone who imagines their vague ideas will receive council financial backing would be well advised to think again. And remember that most political power resides at South Hams Council where councillors from the other market towns and other political parties need to be persuaded to support Dartmouth’s tourist trade shops

  11. Brian,
    If you are so sure that Dartmouth is destined to be little more than a retirement destination perhaps you should be directing your efforts at having the old hospital site retained as a care institution into the future. It is “down town” It could be sensibly developed with rehabilitation and day care as its focus, not necessarily just for Dartmouth residents. There is a market for post hospitalization rehabilitation. It would provide the sort of jobs that you seem to envisage. The old hospital site plus the Zion close sites are in great danger of being converted into cash to be squandered on day to day overheads by the NHS trust management. Meanwhile a much more expensive office block is proposed for our overflow parking that will provide no new care services that do not exist at the moment. It will just make drinking coffee together more convenient.

  12. Hullo Hedley

    Retaining the old cottage hospital is an argument which has been thoroughly examined and well and truly rejected by those with the power and responsibility to make the decision. And who incidentally are not answerable to pressure groups within the town. Have you noticed how quiet they have gone recently ? The Dartmouth decision is also one of 4 closures in South Hams, none of which will be reviewed. I find the proposal to build a brand new health centre in Townstal very exciting and once completed I am sure Dartmouth will value it. And now the District Council has decided to fund the new unit I see no reason to revisit a decision which seems to have the backing of all the organisations involved. There are all sorts of arguments which support going ahead with this but the one which most influences me is the demographic one. There are 5000 people who live in the lower town but another 5000 who live in Townstal and another 10,000 who live in the Dartmouth hinterland. Some residents of the lower town seem to think that their convenience is all that matters and they ignore the fact that the population of the whole of the Dartmouth area are the justification for a new health facility and the reason why we are we are not being deprived of any hospital at all. The old building is in a terrible condition and well past its sell by date and with no car parking can you imagine what its like for residents in Strete or Stoke Fleming to access it ? Any way like much of what is being argued in the lead up to the May elections this is a waste of time because the decision has already been made and not even the intervention of our local MP, the Chairman of the Parliamentary Health Select Committee no less, will make any difference. Things move on and the DIG group are going to achieve nothing for Dartmouth least of all the preservation of old hospital.

  13. Paul, will there be biographies of ALL the Council candidates printed?
    It would be useful and enable people to make a considered decision if there was more information about all the contenders.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.