November 2016 Newsletter
These three photographs accompany Tony Jarram’s article on John Heathcoat .
John Heathcoat moved to Tiverton from Loughborough with many members of his workforce 200 years ago, establishing his factory in West Exe in the autumn of 1816..
Oil Paintings in Tiverton Town Hall
As reported in the local media, Mid Devon District Council has, following the sale of the Town Hall to Tiverton Town Council, proposed moving six pictures from the Art Collection ‘to place them in a location with greater security’.
During the Full Council Meeting on Wednesday, February 22nd, Councillor Dennis Knowles proposed the following motion:
(5) Motion 535 (Councillor D J Knowles – 14 February 2017). The Council had before it a MOTION submitted for the first time: this Council resolves to enter into an agreement with Tiverton Town Council to retain at Tiverton Town Hall all the paintings currently on display at Tiverton Town Hall, either by way of long term loan or transfer to Tiverton Town Council, subject to the necessary insurance and security being maintained.’In accordance with Procedure Rule 14.4, the Chairman of the Council has decided that this Motion (if moved and seconded) will be referred without discussion to the Cabinet.
The MOTION was MOVED by Councillor D J Knowles and seconded by Councillor Mrs J Roach.
In accordance with procedure Rule 14.4, the Chairman of the Council had ruled that this MOTION STAND REFERRED to the Cabinet for consideration.
It was included on the Agenda of the MDDC Cabinet on March 30th. At this meeting it was agreed to accept Dennis Knowles’ motion and the Cabinet will therefore make a recommendation to this effect to be determined by the full Council on April 26th. (TCS questions at this meeting were: Questions for the Cabinet on March 30th 2017 )
The most important of the six pictures is probably the full-length portrait of George III attributed to Sir Joshua Reynolds which is in the Mayoralty Room. In 2016 Bearne, Hampton and Littlewood assessed this as having a six figure insurance value, but, since then, others have cast doubt on its originality.
In addition, the two other royal pictures shown below, as well as another, by an unknown artist, of George II, are of interest and some worth, but the remaining two pictures, unattributed portraits of unknown sitters, have little value, and there seems to be no logical reason to move them! (However, it is important that renewed efforts should be made to find out more about them).
Tiverton Civic Society strongly oppose the removal of these pictures from their present locations. Several of them represent a very important part of the town’s heritage, they have been owned by the town for a very long period, the royal pictures in all likelihood since the 18th century, and we feel that there is no more suitable site locally where they could be displayed, especially the very large portrait (77 x 64 cm) attributed to Sir Joshua Reynolds. Security has never been a problem, Tiverton Town Council have guaranteed to continue with full insurance cover, and we consider that storage, or even sale, should not be considered as an option! With a current background of heavy funding costs the latter is a real concern:
‘All over the country cash-strapped local councils are selling off the family silver… Why is it suddenly necessary to sell? Of course this is a question that is being echoed all over the country as local authorities — struggling with enormous budget cuts imposed by central government — desperately try to flog everything from paintings and libraries to parks and playing fields. What’s under threat, however, is more than the sum of those recreational assets. It’s the very notion that the public should own any recreational assets at all. The modern town hall mantra appears to be “get rid of everything you can”. People once went into local government because they cared about public amenities and public service. Now, it seems, the main aim is to offload as much of both as possible — and damn the cost to residents’ health and happiness.’
– Richard Morrison in The Times 24/2/17
At the meeting the Cabinet voted to recommend that all the pictures should remain in the Town Hall, insurance and security being provided by Tiverton Town Council.
*See the Bibliography and Resources Page for details of ‘Oil Paintings in Public Ownership -Devon‘
Planning Committee Meeting on 29th March 2017
The Planning Committee Agenda and Minutes for 29th March brought forward considerable recommended changes for both major applications (13/01616/MOUT and 14/00881/MOUT) in the Tiverton Eastern Urban Extension, and these represent a further fundamental series of alterations to the adopted Masterplan, a key requirement of which is that ‘the occupation of no more than 600 dwellings or 10,000 square metres commercial floorspace’ will occur ‘before the completion of the full movement grade separated junction to the A361’ . The Planning Officer’s Report states that ‘these Masterplan requirements are now found to be undeliverable’. In particular, there are ongoing problems with the availability and timing of funding, and changes to the timing of S106 payments are proposed, these being designed to facilitate finance for delivery of the A361 Junction. This would now be divided into two phases, the first of these being construction of a left-in, left-out junction on the southern side only. The second phase of the junction, on the northern side, would be built at a later date if and when funding becomes available.
If these changes go ahead, and the second stage of the A361 junction is not completed within an acceptable time period it would have major implications for traffic along the C269 road through Blundell’s School and the Horsdon Roundabout because a large proportion of eastbound traffic along the A361, as well as all traffic returning from Tiverton, would continue to use the existing road, leading to very considerable congestion and air quality issues.
it is clear that these unpalatable and contentious changes have occurred largely because of ‘very serious differences of opinion between the Planning Officers and the Chettiscombe trust on a range of issues’…. .’The s106 agreement and conditions associated with this application have been the subject of extensive discussions and negotiations with the applicant. Officers have sought to challenge the position of the applicant in many respects and believe that the contents of this report represents the best that can be achieved whilst also meeting the timescale driven by junction delivery requirements. This has required difficult decisions to be considered in several areas’. (Quotations from the Senior Planning Officer’s Report in this Agenda for Application 14/00881/MOUT).
(Questions for Planning Committee on 29.3.17 (2) were submitted on behalf of this Society.)
The meeting was held in The Exe Room, Phoenix House, at 2.15 pm on Wednesday, 29th March. After very lengthy discussions the Planning Committee voted in favour of all the recommended changes.
J.D. Salinger, the celebrated, but reclusive, American author of ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ was, as a member of the 4th Infantry Division, posted to Tiverton for three months in 1944 during the preparations for the D Day landings. This experience is thought to have strongly influenced some of his writing, as reported in The Independent.
See the War Memorials Page for more on the 4th Infantry Division.
Planning Devon’s Transport.
Below you will find the slides used by Stuart Jarvis in his excellent presentation on ‘ Planning Devon’s Transport’ on Tuesday, 15th September, 2015.
and 1965. Despite the construction of major flood defences on the River Exe, especially from 1971-1975, the risk for the town remains significant. In addition, the increased run-off which will result from major planned housing developments in the Eastern Urban Extension and elsewhere is an ongoing concern, despite the inclusion of SUDS (Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems), such as attenuation ponds, in such developments.
Diesel Fumes – the Nitrous Dioxide Problem
Questions about the problem of road traffic pollution, especially with relation to diesel emissions, were asked on behalf of Tiverton Civic Society at two MDDC Cabinet meetings in November 2013 and April 2014. These, and the Planning Officers’ response to the second question, can be accessed below:
Mid Devon District Council’s detailed information for air quality monitoring can be viewed online
See also the Sunday Times for 24/5/15.This includes two short videos.
Historic Maps of Devon
Those who attended Richard Oliver’s fascinating talk on October 13th may be interested in the large collection of historic maps of Devon, including part of the Tiverton Tithe Map, which may be viewed at Mapping the County. Benjamin Donne’s map of Tiverton for 1765 is illustrated on this page.. The Tiverton Museum of Mid Devon Life has a fine collection of maps.