Recent News

Tiverton Neighbourhood Plan Draft Design Guide

This has now been published, and details will be posted here We would appreciate any comments about this.

Coronavirus/ COVID-19

This changes everything – at least for now. Please follow the government’s advice to ‘Stay home, protect the NHS, save lives’. Remember that a phone call or online contact with a vulnerable person can make a huge difference to their lives, and that nature can help you cope, even if you can’t get out into it. If you need help or would like to support your local community, then there is“>a great websitewith links to community groups organising mutual aid work in response to coronavirus, and lots of examples of big and small things communities can do. With so much pressure on our supermarkets, many people are buying food locally, and you may find this map of over 8500 local outlets useful. Last week also saw the launch of the government volunteering initiative to help the NHS. You can find out more about this here.

Our thanks to NWEL/CPRE for this information

Blundell’s Food Box Distribution

From: Mrs Lara Wielenga <>
Sent: 31 March 2020 15:48
To: Bookings <>
Subject: Food Box Distribution

Week 2.


Dear All,

Thank you for the interest that was shown in our food box distribution this week. We are off to a good start.

We have taken some feedback and now have a mixed box more suitable for smaller households. Attached is the booking list for Week 2. Full details of the scheme are also included in the attached document.

Our main focus is reaching people who really should not, or who cannot, get to a shop but everyone is free to book these boxes from Wednesday. Please hold off until then to allow those less able to go shopping to book first. Bookings are open now.

With kind regards and hopes for your good health


Please click on the link below to find details

Food Box Distribution – WEEK 2

.Mid Devon Museum Temporary Closure and Emergency Appeal.

Tiverton Museum Temporary Closure Emergency Appeal

Tiverton Museum of Mid Devon Life is temporarily closed to the public in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This was a very difficult decision to make, but we must prioritise the welfare of our volunteers, visitors and staff. We have cancelled all programmed events for April and May.

We are an independent charity dependent upon the income from admission, events and other activities. This closure is an extremely challenging time for us as we have limited cash reserves to fall back on.

We will be very grateful if you could make any donation to help us survive this closure period. You can donate online by clicking here.

You can also support us by becoming a museum member. Download the form here. Your membership period will commence from the time that we are able to re-open the museum.

We will continue to share our collections via social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram); just search for @TivertonMuseum

Thank you to everyone who supports the museum. We hope to re-open and welcome you back to the museum as soon as possible.


Tiverton Neighbourhood Plan Website

The website for the emerging Tiverton Neighbourhood Plan has now been launched. It can be accessed at:

Radical History Walks run by the Tiverton Museum

Two walks are being led by Steve Bush on 21st March and 18th April. Details will be found below:

Radical History poster

The Newte Library at St Peter’s Church

Part of the Newte Library, St Peter’s Church.

Nothing has been finally arranged, but the Newte Library is possibly going to move to a new home because of the need to find extra space for the reordering of the church.
The Library was founded from part of the private library of Rev. John Newte, rector of the Tidcombe and Pitt portions of Tiverton on his death in 1716. He had inherited the library of his father, Richard, in 1678. The books bequeathed are consistent with what would be expected of an Anglican clergyman of the later 17C and early 18C. There are also some later books and a 15th century ‘Book of Hours’.
A survey, published in 1959, and research carried out since then shows that the Newte Library is one of only 4 of the 13 parish libraries known to have been founded in Devon before 1800 for which the bulk of the collection still survives. Of these it is the only parish library to be housed in the original parochial church, and it is not only an important survival, but also a key part of Tiverton’s history which must be preserved intact.

Anna-Lujz Gilbert, a PhD student working in the field of early modern book history, who has written a paper on the Library, and Emma Down, a professional archivist,
are at present both working on cataloguing the Newte Library and carrying out a condition report.

Forthcoming WEA Talks

Reminder: Evening Talk: “Why do we have an epidemic of mental health issues in adolescents?”

This talk had to be postponed in January because of Kevin Walkers’ indisposition. We are now pleased to announce that he has consented to offer this event on Wednesday 29th April at 7 00pm at Petroc. If you are interested in attending this event, please make a note of this date. Formal enrolment will open soon on the WEA website at: or by telephone on 0300 303 3464.

Best wishes from Tiverton Branch Committee

Public Consultation for Area B of Tiverton’s Eastern Urban Extension

The Public Consultstion runs from February 27th until April 9th 2020. Full details are available online

Area B from Manley Lane, February 2020. Will Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems, the Ailsa Brook and West Manley Lane be able to cope with the extra runoff?


WEA Programme

Tiverton Branch Centenary Celebrations – Please reserve this date

We are arranging a garden tea party to celebrate our 100th anniversary as Tiverton Branch. This will take place on the afternoon of Sunday 14th June in Tiverton. Please make a note of this date – more details will be sent nearer the time. We hope you will join us.

Living with Beauty – The Final Report of the Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission was published on January 30th 2020.

The full report is now available online

This report, which has important implications for housing design, was led by the late Sir Roger Scruton and Nicholas Boys Smith (Create Streets) and contains dozens of recommendations to support the creation of ‘more beautiful’ communities, including:

• Speeding up the planning process for ‘beautiful buildings’ through a new ‘Fast Track for Beauty’ rule for councils
• Recognising that some developers can abuse permitted developments rights to produce accommodation of the lowest quality. They call for all new homes to meet minimum standards for space, amenity and comfort
• Increasing democracy and involving communities in local plans and planning applications, including using digital technology like virtual reality and 3D modelling to help local people shape their own areas
• Recognises that a lack of resources and expertise in local authority planning departments was contributing to wider design-evaluation problems and suggests a new planning “fast stream” could be a solution

Mid Devon Local Plan Review Proposed Main Modifications Consultation. January 6th – February 17th 2020

Full details concerning this consultation, and how to respond to it, are now online, with displays in Phoenix House and public libraries.

Our Website

There were 5517 views of our website from 2800 visitors in 2019. This maintains the steady increase since the website was launched in 2015. Last year 5038 views were from the United Kingdom, the next highest being 164 from the USA and 122 from British Commonwealth countries.

Historic England’s 21 Fascinating Places Listed in 2019

There were over 500 new listings in 2019. Please follow the link below for a discussion of 21 of these in greater detail:

CPRE’s Christmas Message

Please see the You Tube video which celebrates CPRE’s achievements in 2019.  Following this there are some extra items.

WEA Programme for 2020

Please see details below  about the next free course, starting in January

The Science of Mental Health – Poster for Fbk

The Great Tiverton Tree Plant

We fully support the aims and activities of Sustainable Tiverton and the Tiverton Tree Team

Planting at Knightshayes on Tiverton Tree Day, October 30th 2019
Planting at Knightshayes for The Great Tiverton Tree Plant on November 30th 2019

.Civic Voice Manifesto

The Civic Voice Manifesto was launched on November 18th.

Future Housing Development at Tidcombe Hall

LVA (Land Value Alliances) bought Tidcombe Hall over a year ago and have been putting together a speculative planning application with Walsingham Planning to deliver 168 homes covering over 12 hectares (30 acres), 35% of these being affordable houses, while Clifton Emery Design  have been working on design. Under the plan Tidcombe Hall would also be restored and converted into housing units. (Outline details, including an aerial view, of the application site, can be viewed online).

An application, 19/00645/SCR, has already been submitted for screening around the proposed development, which is shown on the accompanying map, and an advice letter, including discussion of the overall planning proposal, which was sent to Walsingham Planning by Lucy Hodgson, MDDC Planning, can also be accessed.

Developers and Architects proposing development of this site gave a presentation to the members of the Grand Western Canal Advisory Committee during their meeting on Tuesday, October 1st 2019. The report of the committee’s subsequent discussion included the conclusion that ‘it was generally recognised that the proposed development, if it came to fruition, could have a significant impact upon the canal.’

A presentation was also made to Tiverton Town Council Planning Committee on Monday, September 2nd 2019.

Devon Live and the Tiverton Gazette discussed this application in early November. See:

The developers of this proposed application held a Public Consultation in the New Hall, Barrington Street, on Saturday, November 30th from 12 noon – 5 pm. Following this Devon Live included an article which covered the views of both objectors and developers, the main focus being on potential road safety and congestion issues. A fuller version was included in the Tiverton Gazette on December 19th.

Consultation on November 30th, 2019

Much concern has previously been expressed about any large housing development at this and nearby sites. The forthcoming application, on a greenfield site, would be for a development which would include part of the Grand Western Canal Conservation Area and County Wildlife site, it would severely impair the largely rural landscape and vistas to the south of the canal at this point, and, unless carefully managed, it could lead to significantly increased surface runoff, which would be channelled through the Tidcombe Site of Special Scientific Interest and along the flood-prone Ailsa Brook and River Lowman. It would also lie partly outside the Tiverton settlement boundary, and it would compromise the setting of the historically significant Tidcombe Hall, and that of an important listed building, the 16th century Little Tidcombe Farm House. ‘which internally retains evidence of an important earlier status as is proven by the very high quality of its hall ceiling’. (Historic England). In addition, during both the construction and occupancy phases, significant problems would, in all likelihood, occur for the transport infrastructure, especially the narrow and often congested Tidcombe Lane, where increased traffic pollution would be a potential problem close to the junction with Blundell’s Road..

The proposed development area is not allocated for development in the emerging Mid Devon Local Plan 2013-2033, although it would include part of the smaller TIV 13 contingency site for housing, which MDDC do not consider is needed for housing in the period of this Local Plan. In their latest submission  (Sustainabilty Appraisal) submitted in July 2019 to the Planning Inspector for the Mid Devon Local Plan, 2013-2033, MDDC ‘demonstrate that a five year supply of deliverable sites will be maintained over the initial five years and subsequent periods …without the need to bring forward the TIV13 Tidcombe Hall contingency site’ .(Page 8). MDDC also considers that there would be problems in bringing forward the contingency site quickly for reasons ‘including a covenant on the land that forms the western part of the allocation, which is also in separate ownership to the larger part of the allocation to the east’. (ED22, Page 53, September 2019). Also see the Mid Devon District Council Local Plan Review Sustainability Appraisal Memorandum October 2019 Page 11/12                         

An earlier response was submitted by Jonathan Chick of Walsingham Planning on behalf of LVA to the Local Plan Review Sustainability Appraisal Consultation in April 2018. This challenged the decision not to bring forward the Tidcombe contingency site, as well as what they consider to be the low number of houses (100) which would be allocated to this site if it was ever to be adopted.

It is the view of this Society that, for Tiverton, sufficient housing for many years to come will be provided in the Eastern Urban Extension, we support the view that the Tidcombe contingency site should not be adopted for housing, and we object to any further loss of greenfield agricultural land. as well as the threat to landscape, heritage and recreational assets. This is clearly an example of the type of speculative development, in this case on a partly unallocated site, which the Head of Planning and Regeneration at MDDC has warned is likely to come forward if 5 year national housing targets are not met and a new, fully compliant, local plan has not been approved and adopted. Moreover, we feel that approval of this application would make it even less likely that builders would come forward to purchase land in Area A of the Eastern Urban Extension, and there would be a further delays in completing the road to the new A361 junction and the provision of vital services such as the school and the shops in the planned local centre.

On behalf of Mid Devon CPRE Mike Sanderson, one of our committee members, has sent an important letter, which can be downloaded below. This is very critical of the approach of MDDC to the proposed scheme, and echoes the strong reservations of TCS.

Letter to the Tiverton Gazette 12-19 (1)

For all the reasons given above both Tiverton Civic Society and Mid Devon CPRE are very likely to oppose this application strongly when it is submitted, and also to encourage others to do so.

Government Design Guide (Published w.e. 5.10.19), and ‘Take Back the High Street’.

Publication of the National Design Guide and Design: Process and Tools planning practice guidance

The National Design Guide and Design: Process and Tools planning practice guidance were published this week on

The National Design Guide forms part of the suite of planning practice guidance and is capable of being a material consideration for planning decisions. Both the National Design Guide and the Design: Process and Tools PPG should be read alongside each other.

As well as the design guidance, a Written Ministerial Statement has also been published setting out the following:

  • the intention to consult on a National Model Design Code in the new year, which will set out recommended parameters for key elements of successful design
  • that the National Model Design Code, and the requirement for local planning authorities to produce local design codes or guides, will be informed by consideration of recommendations made by the Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission when they report in December 2019.
Guidance sets out principles for design review which suggests that there should be a mechanism for involving local communities and that the findings are transparent and accessible.

The importance of the engagement of local communities and people at all stages of the design process is stressed! ‘Our job is to create communities where people want to live and work together, and to empower local people to shape what happens in their area’.

Also, please see PCT_3619_High_Street_Pamphlet_FINAL_LR  This pamphlet on ‘Take Back the High Street’ puts forward ideas for the revival of town centres and again stresses the importance of the involvement of local communities.

‘Telling Our Stories: Finding Our Roots  – Devon’s Multicultural History’.

Please see Telling our Stories

The good news is that the Heritage Lottery Fund Grant, for which Devon Development Education, applied, has been awarded. See below (lower on this page) for more details about this project for which Tiverton Civic Society have agreed to be Community Partners.

The new Tiverton Lead for this project is Lizzie Mee, who will be working from the Tiverton Museum, where she is normally available after 1.30 pm every Monday.  She would be very glad to hear from volunteers who would like help her in her researches.

Podcast on TCR Radio 

There is a 27 minute podcast on Tiverton Community Radio in which the excellently prepared Caro Bushnell talks to the TCS Chairman about  the society’s 50th anniversary and Tiverton’s heritage.

Caro Bushnell also talked to the TCS Chairman about the Town Leat on June 14th, and this can be listened to online.

Tiverton Town Leat

The Town Leat was temporarily repaired and flowed again in early summer 2018, but since then it has been largely dry. Although a major meeting is planned between interested parties, probably on June 18th, the local concern about the lack of progress is very considerable and a protest meeting in Castle Street, followed by a march through the town to Coggans Well, was held on Saturday, June 1st. This was fully supported by Tiverton Civic Society, many of our members taking part.

The Town Leat in Castle Street Flowing Temporarily During May, 2018.

The protest and march was set up by Caro Bushnell (TCR) and Jo Mortimer. Our Chairman made a short speech at the meeting TOWN LEAT

Both local and national media have shown a considerable interest and, as well as the online petition (see the Sidebar), a Facebook page has been set up

A committee of Tiverton Council are researching sources of finance for the necessary repairs, including an application for Heritage Lottery funding. (August 2019). Plans to restore the flow to the leat at the Chettiscombe end, and to enhance Chettiscombe Green have been outlined. in January 2020 by Councillor Irene Hill:

The enhancement and renovation of Chettiscombe Green for public enjoyment includes*the restoration of Chettiscombe Weir

*the installation of public benches

*the creation of a wildflower meadow

*provision of open, safe, natural, space and resource for the local playgroup.

The Village of Chettiscombe is built on land owned by the Chettiscombe Trust and managed by the Knighsthayes Estate.  It lies about 1½ miles northeast of Tiverton town centre. Estate cottages are found built close to a triangular green, bounded on one side by a stream whichsupplies water to The Tiverton Town Leat.  At the southern narrow end of the green the road leading to Chevithorne Village passes over a small stone-built bridge. At this point the stream divides:  part runs over a small (currently broken down) weir eventually to the Lowman river.  The pond created by the weir forms the head water for the Town Leat which flows along a separate channel into the town.  This is an integral and important part of the history and heritage of the town, which it does not wish to lose.

The work to enhance the weir involves bringing the structure back up to it former height and strengthening it so that the Leat continues to

flow.  The finish will be sympathetic to the history and existing environment, ensuring it complies with suggestions made by the conservation officer, and fits in with the surrounding village green. This work could also help to alleviate the flooding of the green which has happened due to the sudden increased flow of water from the surrounding hills.

At the other wider end of the Green there is a ford and a small wooden bridge for pedestrians. The Village provides a very picturesque scene with the cottages, farm buildings and a children’s playgroup.

The Chettiscombe Trust have agreed that this area could be enhanced to enable other people to enjoy this open space. A circular walk from the National Trust Property at Knightshayes Court to include the village is being enabled. A tea shop is soon to be opened by the Chettiscombe Trust in one of the old Barns just North of the Green. 

The Town Council would like to purchase two benches which will be located on the green, to enable residents, walkers, and cyclists to enjoy a rest and open space so created. The benches to be purchased will be made of recycled plastic and fixed permanently to the ground. The use of recycled material fits in wit6h Council policy.

The Green will be prepared and planted with wild flowers to create a meadow appearance, leaving a metre of rough grass around the trees, edges and surrounding the wild flower area to enable easy access to the banks of the stream. This is required when the stream needs de-silting or for weeding. 

The meadow will take two seasons to establish but should be sustainable after that. The children in the playgroup and the villagers will be invited to take part in the planting and the Council hopes that it will become an area for them to experience and learn about the abundance of flora and insect life which the wild flowers would attract. The meadow should encourage bees and pollinators to thrive.

This project, as well as providing a new open space for all to enjoy, will also be one of the areas where the Council is looking to make a statement and a positive contribution in answer to the climate change challenge we all face. 

Please also see Devon Live 

Please also see item above (TCR Radio) for a discussion between Caro Bushnell and Jeremy Salter.

Mid Devon Economic Development Strategy

The new draft economic development strategy was presented to the MDDC Economic Policy Development Group by the Head of Planning, Economy and Regeneration on January 29th. Also, please see most recent Mid Devon Economic Profile 181018 for Economy PDG.

Exeleigh House

Exeleigh House

Many people have expressed concern about Exeleigh House, very significant because of its links with John Heathcoat, because it is a fine building and because it is in the Tiverton Conservation Area. Jo Mortimer has, at our request, produced this excellent, but depressing, picture of the front of the house in its recent condition. She has also kindly presented the original picture to the Society. The picture, entitled ‘Agent of Change’, reached the long list for the John Ruskin Prize, 2019. The jury said:
“On this occasion your work has not been shortlisted. However, your submitted work did reach the penultimate stages of the judging process, reaching the long list of just 150 artists. Given the strength of this years applicants you should be encouraged by this news.”

For further information  please see further information on the Listed Buildings and Scheduled Ancient Monuments Page.

The condition of this listed house was one of the reasons for Historic England’s classification of the Tiverton Conservation Area as ‘Heritage at Risk’, ‘Very Bad’ and ‘Deteriorating’.

The good news is that work is now in progress to restore the exterior of the house.

BBC Radio Devon

Tiverton Civic Society featured in BBC Radio Devon’s new  community focused evening show– ‘celebrating the county of Devon and the people who live there’ on Tuesday, January 15th from 8 – 9.15 p.m. Anne Davies, Jeremy Salter and Mike Sanderson joined the programme host, Michael Chequer, in the studio.

Tiverton Conservation Area was 8th in Civic Voice’s Competition to find England’s Favourite Conservation Area! 

Civic Voice asked their members to nominate their choice as their Favourite Conservation Area in England and, out of the 249 nominations, Tiverton Conservation Area was included in a shortlist of 18, the nomination being made by this society. The first conservation area was established at Stamford fifty years ago, there are now more than 10,000. (However, many, including Civic Voice, are concerned about their future).

Following a nationwide vote the result was declared on October 20th 2018. The final vote placed Swindon GWR Railway Village Conservation Area first. The Tiverton Conservation Area did very well to achieve 8th place, and together with the 2017 nomination of this as one of six ‘Amazing Conservation Areas’ in England, confirms that the town has one of the finest of this country’s conservation areas. However, it is classified as ‘Heritage at Risk’, ‘Very Bad’ and ‘Deteriorating’ by Historic England, and everyone needs to do more to enhance it!

Joan Humble, Chair of Civic Voice said: “When we decided to launch England’s Favourite Conservation Area, we wanted to use it to test the enthusiasm people have for the place where they live. To get people talking about why conservation areas matter. What it has turned out to be is something truly amazing. It has surpassed all our expectations at Civic Voice. We received 249 entries from across the country and from announcing the shortlist to announcing the winner, we received just under 16,000 votes in 14 days. People do care about where they live. I look forward to visiting each of the winners at some point soon with Civic Voice.”


General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR).

All organisations were required to comply with the new GDPR regulations by May 25th 2018, and we have made every effort to do so. We have written a new Privacy Statement which can be read here: Tiverton Civic Society Privacy Statement

We have also contacted all members to request their permission to continue to use the contact details they have provided, including postal and e mail addresses as well as telephone numbers.

Conservation Areas

Historic England have mounted a campaign to celebrate 50 years of Conservation Areas in England. They have highlighted six examples of ‘amazing conservation areas’, including  the Tiverton  Conservation Area, after a submission by this Society! Nevertheless this area remains classified as ‘Heritage at Risk’.

See the latest Historic England findings about ‘Heritage at Risk’.

Canonsleigh Abbey – see the Archives Page.

Launch of ‘Tiverton Cloth’ by Pater Maunder -see the Archives Page.

The Fountain in the People’s Park – see the Archives Page.

Local Plan Review Examination – see the Archives Page.

Links Provided by Tristan Peat (MDDC) following his presentation on October 30th 2018 – see the Archives Page.

Tiverton Floods in 1960 – see the Archives Page.

Unveiling of Plaque to Private Thomas Sage VC on October 4th 2017 – see the Archives Page.

Planning Committee on 29th March 2017 – see the Archives Page

Pictures accompanying the article on John Heathcoat in the November 2016 Newsletter – see the Archives Page

Oil Paintings in Tiverton Town Hall – see the Archives Page

Flood Risk – see the Archives Page.

Diesel Emissions – see the Archives Page.

J.D.Salinger in Tiverton – see the Archives Page

Tiverton Floods in 1960 – see the Archives Page.