Recent News

20th Century South-West Region Newsletter

This society celebrates 20th century architecture and the August 2019 Newsletter is now published.

Historic England

The latest issue, Volume 13, of the Historic England Research Magazine, is now available online. This has a particular focus on tourism and seaside resorts. Also the latest roundup is available of Heritage Highlights, including buildings which are newly listed.

WEA Autumn Programme

WEA Tiverton Branch nears its Centenary

‘We are busy preparing our autumn programme as we approach our 100th birthday! The first W.E.A. classes were held in Tiverton in October 1919 and the Branch was founded in the summer of 1920. So, we are looking forward to celebrating our centenary in the new year.

To mark our 100th year, we are pleased to announce that we have secured special funding from the Wellcome Trust to offer free courses and other educational events with a broadly scientific theme. We are working on a series of Wednesday evening talks with the over-arching title of “The Science of the Mind” – more details will follow nearer the autumn, but please note particularly the date of Wednesday 6th November when we will hold our Branch A.G.M. at 6 30pm before the first talk in the series.’

New Literature Course and Half-day School

Enrolments are now open for two literature events:

Lorna Doone – the book and local connections. 2019 is the 150th anniversary of the publication of R.D. Blackmore’s famous “Romance of Exmoor” with its links to Blundell’s and Tiverton. To mark this Greta Depledge will lead a Saturday morning event in Tiverton to explore the work of Blackmore, the plot of the novel and the Victorian social context which influenced its writing. This event will take place on Saturday 14th September, 10 00 – 1 00 and the fee is £10. The school runs from 10am to 1pm at St George’s Church Extension, Beck Square. We are offering places at the reduced fee of £10 and, if you are interested in attending, you are asked to book a place by Friday 6th September – either on-line at www.wea.org.uk or by phoning 0300 303 3464 quoting the course reference C3530589. We hope to see you at this event and that you will support the Branch in this venture. Please tell your friends about this event and encourage them to come along – we need a good crowd attending to cover our costs!

The Novels of George Eliot

There are still a few places left on this course which starts on Wednesday 18th September at 2 30pm and runs for 6 weeks. Places can be booked either on-line at www.wea.org.uk or by phoning 0300 303 3464 quoting the course reference C3530671. The fee is £44.00.

We hope you will enjoy these events.

Evening Talks

Using the funding we have received from the Wellcome Trust, we are arranging a series of free evening talks on the theme of Science in Society. The first talk takes place on Wednesday 2nd October at 7pm at Petroc and other autumn talks will be held on 6th November and 4th December. You will be sent a leaflet with full details shortly.

Tiverton Branch Committee

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 (44 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.

The full application has now been submitted. (September 2019).

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.

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, and it would severely impair the largely rural landscape and vistas to the south of the canal at this point. 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.

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. 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).

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 on an unallocated site which the Head of Planning and Generation at MDDC has warned is likely to come forward if 5 year national housing targets are not met. 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.

For all the reasons given above we are very likely to  oppose this application strongly when it is submitted, and also to encourage others, including our partner organisation CPRE, to do so.

Jo Amor

Congratulations to Jo and Mike Webber, owners of Jo Amor, for winning the Great Gifts Retailer Award 2019 – ‘The best gift shop in the south west’. A real boost for them and for Tiverton’s independent retail sector! Jo spoke eloquently against plans for a Designer Outlet Village at Junction 27 during the recent Planning Inspector’s Hearings.2019-06-08 09.37.15

‘What’s On at the Tiverton Museum’ from May to December 2019.

What’s on final 2019, providing details of the programme, including courses, talks, exhibitions, and walks, is now available.

‘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 to hear from volunteers who would like help her in her researches.

Book Launch  on Sunday, June 9th

 ”Renegado’ John Were truly a Hero’ by Douglas Rice was launched at St Andrew’s Church, Halberton on Sunday 9th June. For full details, including information as to where this excellent book can be purchased, please see Scan_0005

Also see Devon Live

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.

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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 https://www.facebook.com/groups/2723616954322233/?ref=share.

A committee of Tiverton Council are researching sources of finance for the necessary repairs, including an application for Heritage Lottery funding. (August 2019).

Please also see Devon Live 

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

Canonsleigh Abbey

Details of Des Atkinson’s researches into Canonsleigh Abbey will be found at: https://humanities.exeter.ac.uk/media/universityofexeter/collegeofhumanities/history/exhistoria/volume7/Canonsleigh_Abbey-_a_Thriving_Devon_Nunnery_.pdf

The Fountain in the People’s Park

Julie Hubbard (assistant@tivertontowncouncil.gov.uk) is hoping to raise funds for the restoration of the fountain in the People’s Park, possibly by applying to the Heritage Lottery Fund. The Tiverton Museum have supplied her with this information:

People’s Park

London resident John Coles, who was born in Washfield, offered the borough council £1000 to buy land for a “People’s Park” in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Queen Victoria’s accession. This money was used to buy Govett’s field a 3 ½ acre plot opposite the entrance to Villa Franca. An adjacent plot of a similar size was purchased from the owners of the castle for a further £1000 (from public donations).  Sir John Amory gave approx. 1 ½ acres of the cricket field as a playground. The old toll house was turned into the Park Keeper’s cottage.

Mr Arthur McDonald quoted £1,200 for the creating of the park, which was to include 38 seats, band stand, pond and rockery, shrubs, footpaths with drainage, two sets of 10 ½ feet entrance gates, a wicket gate, iron railings with gate, converting the old toll house  and general labour.

The park was officially opened in June 1888.

The recreation area had a bandstand, near the northern entrance was a drinking fountain with 3 drinking basins and stone carved pelicans and at the opposite end was another drinking fountain with 4 basins.

The first of these fountains was carved by J.A.R. Goad of Plymouth and was presented by Rev George Hadow MA, Rector of Tidcombe, in July 1888. The drinking basins have been removed and the pelicans have lost their heads, so much restoration is required!

The drawings below, by Jo Mortimer, were completed at the request of Cllr Sue Griggs. The second of these is a reconstruction of the fountain as it  originally appeared.

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Fountain in the Peoples' Park (Jo Mortimer)
Drawing of the Fountain by Jo Mortimer

fountain as was26052019

Allies Mid Devon are organising a crowd-funding appeal to raise funds for the restoration of this fountain. All are invited to contribute!

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

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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.

A Vision for Social Housing

Shelter’s new plan for social housing, produced by 16 cross-party commissioners, has now been published. It mirrors the concerns expressed by many about homelessness and the shortage of low-cost rented housing, a problem very apparent in Tiverton.

 ‘Telling Our Stories: Finding Our Roots – in Devon’

Devon Development Education, an education charity working across Devon from an office base in Exeter is applying for Heritage Lottery Funding for  ‘Telling Our Stories: Finding Our Roots – in Devon’ which will aim to find out about Black, Asian and minority ethnic presence and stories in 3 towns in Devon, Tiverton, Okehampton and Bideford. These stories may be very recent or quite ancient! The project follows on from a very successful project they ran before, with HLF funding, called ‘Telling Our Stories – Finding Our Roots’ with a focus on Exeter.

Tiverton Civic Society have gladly accepted an invitation to be Community Partners for this important project (and the Tiverton Museum have agreed to be Heritage Partners).

Visitors to this Website

!n 2018 there were 2486 visitors to this website, with 4933 views, both figures representing significant increases over those for previous years. The most popular Pages were ‘Listed Buildings and Scheduled Ancient Monuments’ (1184 views), and ‘War Memorials’ (451 views). 4164 visitors were from the United Kingdom, 477 from U.S.A., 64 from Canada, and 56 from Australia.

New Listings by Historic England

Historic England have given details of many new listings.

Local Plan Review Examination

The Local Plan Submission Document 2013 – 2033 was reviewed by Paul Griffith, a Planning Inspector, at the Phoenix Chambers, Phoenix House, on Thursday 14th, Friday 15th, Tuesday 19th and Wednesday 20th February 2019. Tiverton Civic Society was represented at some of these Hearings, which were open to the public.

Hearing 1 (14/02/19) dealt with the Vision, Spatial and Development Strategies and Strategic Policies; Hearing 2 (15/02/19) Strategy and Site Allocations for Tiverton and Cullompton; Hearing 3 (15/02/19) Site Allocations for Crediton and Rural Areas; Hearing 4 (19/02/19) Development Management Policies; Hearing 5a (20/02/19) J27 and SP2; Hearing 5b (20/02/19) Proposed Modifications. Tiverton Civic Society submitted an extra Position Statement for the J27 meeting on February 20th.

tcspositionstatementconcerningj27proposalsforfebruary2019meeting

Please also see the TCS statement J27 Meeting on February 20thx.docx (2)  delivered at the Hearing for Junction 27 on February 20th.

The Planning Inspector’s latest advice note, dated May 23rd 2019, has now been received by MDDC. It shows, among other things, that he is not happy that the 5 year housing targets can be achieved in the early years of the plan, and he suggests possible ways in which these might be achieved. MDDC’s responses to this advice note, which have little impact on existing plans for Tiverton, were submitted on July 17th 2019.  See also

We must fight plans to open up any plans to build yet more houses on Greenfield sites in and near Tiverton! Are 393 new houses per year really needed for Mid Devon? CPRE’s recent report casts considerable doubt on the rationale for such a high figure.

Devon’s Housing Needs Evidence – 12th October 2018

‘Tiverton Cloth’ by Peter Maunder

‘Tiverton Cloth’, Peter Maunder’s superb new book on ‘the story of the town’s woollen trade 1475 – 1815’, with an extensive appendix on cloth seals by Jane Evans, is now available. For details please click on Scan_0003

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Cloth Seals and other Textile Items on Display at the Book Launch in Tiverton Museum
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Peter Maunder and Jane Evans at the Book Launch on December 12th

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.”

Can you help Knightshayes to celebrate 150 years?

Knightshayes are celebrating the 150th year anniversary of the laying of the foundation stone of the house.  They will be hosting a series of events in celebration next spring and summer 2019 but need the community to help kick things off this September with a special project ‘Mapping Knightshayes Connections’

Floral Display to Mark our Society’s 50th Anniversary.

The sign and display was, for a whole year, seen next to the roundabout at the junction of Station Road and Great Western Way, finally being taken down in May, 2019 Many thanks to Andrea Rowe and Mid Devon District Council for arranging this.

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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.

Civic Voice’s Response to the Draft Revised (NPPF) National Planning Policy Framework Consultation.

This response has now been submitted by Civic Voice, our parent organisation.

Tiverton Eastern Extension Area B

The MDDC Cabinet discussed detailed proposals for Area B at their meeting at Phoenix House at 2.15 pm on Thursday, 26th October 2017.

At the meeting it was resolved:

‘That in the event of significant delay in the highway connection being formed with Area A and subject to acceptable planning impacts, alternative access arrangements can be considered (that do not include Mayfair &/or the Manley Lane/Post Hill junction)‘.

Letter re Cabinet report 8.11.17 gives full details.

Our Comment. ‘The only practical alternative access from the Tiverton – Halberton road would be through the north-west corner of Hartnoll Farm, close to the Hartnoll Business Centre, and then across Manley Lane into Area B. Such an access road could, as a ‘ransom strip’, not only be very costly, potentially reducing funding available for the second stage of the A361 junction, but it would also be outside the Allocated Area for development in the emerging Local Plan 2013 – 2033, within the parish of Halberton, and on Grade 1 Agricultural Land. Worse still, it would constitute an ‘own goal’ for the Planning Department because it would provide infrastructure which would encourage piecemeal, unregulated, residential development, which they state they are trying to avoid, at that part of Hartnoll Farm for which Waddeton Park have already taken out an option’.

Access to Area B through Area A must remain the only option!

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’.

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.