Manor Gardens - an update on progress

Councillor Cathy Campos has asked me to post this latest update to the campaign to preserve Manor Gardens as a green space. You may remember the petition launched a few weeks ago.

A setback …
Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of Cllr Jonathan Hawkins, SHDC has once again declined to
support Local Green Space Designation for Manor Gardens. It should be noted that his fellow SHDC
Councillors did not support this latest attempt to safeguard this space. It is now obvious that South
Hams will not, of their own volition, do what so many of us want, and will not guarantee to protect
this iconic community space from any further development.  Now our only realistic hope of securing
this protection will be thorough the Dartmouth Neighbourhood Plan.  This can nominate Manor
Gardens along with a many other much loved community spaces for this designation, and whilst
SHDC could still refuse to support this nomination, the final decision rests with the independent
Examiner. So if you are a resident please support the DNP when it is released for public consultation
this Summer and vote for it when there is a public referendum next year.
The Friends of Manor Gardens are moving forward with their plans to restore Manor Gardens to its
former glory and their plans and ambitions are, of course, very welcome. However until Manor
Gardens has full protection their work may all be in vain.


  1. Manor Gardens should remain as it is, a green space and refuge for visitors and residents alike who embark on the long walk to the castle and beyond. It is criminal that the beautiful gardens and views should be sold to the highest bidder for their personal enjoyment. Please keep the gardens free and open for all.

  2. The Manor Gardens are a little gem. They are a great resting place for visitors on the walk to Dartmouth Castle. Well worth securing for the town into the future.

  3. This must be the 3rd or 4th time that the future of Manor Gardens has been reviewed and those who have a viewpoint should be asked for some data to support it
    In the instance I was involved in, the use of the gardens and of the public toilets was a tiny fraction of what was supposed and the steps were a serious obstacle to potential users of a certain age.
    And it turned out that the chief users of the toilets were drug users who left their hypodermic needles all over the place
    At that time the District Council objected to the cost of keeping the toilets open and the police were concerned if they could monitor the site effectively
    Has this changed and how many members of the general public actually use the place. I suspect the answer is pretty close to zero. If the gardens were sold the money could be used on some facilities in the town which would be valued by the public and actually used
    Brian Boughton

    • Brian, I must admit I am inclined towards your view on this space as well. However I think it could be brought into use as an art space with sculptures in the gardens and the toilets repurposed as an exhibition space for local artists. This idea has come from a resident along the river front adjacent to the space, and his motivation comes from the constant misuse of this space as you describe above. I also see very few people actually enjoying this space on my frequent walks past it from my home. So I question whether it is right to protect it just because it is there. This wont be a popular opinion but I am old enough to be honest these days! However Beacon Park, now that is a different story. The views from up there are spectacular and the wild life it supports is numerous and diverse. That space I would fight for.

  4. The gardens could be considered as part of a wider environmental project. Providing they are planted correctly they can sequestrate CO2 , help clean the air of traffic emissions, increase biodiversity, and provide a health and wellbeing space which enhances mental health. In my view green spaces in urban areas should never be lost, they don’t always need to provide a monetary income or ‘ entertainment’ value. And this is a flat space, easily accessible , and with a few tweaks could become much more of a sensory garden.

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