You may remember that Dartmouth has decided to prepare a Neighbourhood Plan so that the community can influence the future development of the town. As Chairman of the Economy and Tourism Topic Group I am seeking members of the business community to join my group.
If you are passionate about Dartmouth and feel you have the skills to make a contribution to the Neighbourhood Plan please contact me at [email protected]
These are some of the areas we expect to study and make recommendations:
- Parking – although there is a separate group considering the parking needs of the town we feel that its considerable impact on the town’s economy is a consideration. We accept that some compromises will be necessary to retain the quality of the town’s environment at the same time as easing the parking problem.
- Heritage – The history of Dartmouth plays a major role in its appeal to tourists from home or abroad. Our planning decisions should seek to preserve our heritage in the best way we can.
- Signeage – The nature of our streets (network of small lanes) makes it necessary to have good signage throughout the town to ensure visitors can appreciate the full essence of the town.
- Community needs. Planning approval of retail sites should consider the needs of residents and should aim to widen the range of retail offer when granting permission for new businesses or change of use for instance. Perhaps a defined proportion of retail businesses should be for local services.
- Coronation Park – This is an amenity that can play a big role in Dartmouths future. We should actively encourage its use for regular events which are professionally run and do not have a negative impact on our environment
- Access – Road access to Dartmouth needs some limited improvement. We should prioritise pinch points on the access roads to Dartmouth in areas such as Norton Park for instance. Easy access to Town from Norton Park should be resolved.
- Voice of Businesses – The business community is under-represented in local decision making. The Town and District Councils need to give more consideration to the business community by inviting more local business people to represent the community in planning decisions. Either Councillors with a business or invited business stakeholders should be involved in planning decisions (without a vote perhaps).
- Business incubation – The provision of space and support for start-up businesses whenever possible. Coupled with an agreement on the nature of non-tourist sectors we wish to encourage into the town i.e. Service industry, Technology companies etc. ( Budgeted promotion of the town as a business location)
- West Dart commercial – Priority should be placed on developing appropriate commercial sites in the planned West Dart development. With possible emphasis on knowledge based service industries where our lifestyle is attractive and our difficult logistics are not a problem
- Value of the riverside – Our riverside location has tremendous value but is underutilised. Street cafes and events on the embankment are an example of how many towns exploit their location. This should be a consideration in Dartmouth’s future planning.
- Pedestrianisation – During the closure of some streets after the Lower street fire many people appreciated the advantage of pedestrianised areas in the retail space. Environmentally beneficial and much nicer places to wander and enjoy, this should be considered during the consultation that follows this stage of the process.(assuming the negative effect on parking can be mitigated)
- Town Management – Support for the promotion and Marketing of the town including the DVC. Extension of the facilities to include the Newcomen Engine and the Mayflower 400 needs. Increased facility space for volunteer support.
These are the twelve areas in which we recommend there is further consultation with the community to help specify detailed proposals for planning control recommendations.