Recent News

Mid Devon ShowIMG_0574

May Blossom at the Mid Devon Showground. Hopefully, the show will be back to normal on July 24th!

Mid Devon Local Planning Authority Awarded £50,000 to Test and Develop the National Design Code.

Mid Devon are one of only 14 LPAs nationally, and the sole representative from Siuth West England, to have been selected to  participate in the Government’s pilot for local design codes, Please see:

Ian Harvey, Chairman of Civic Voice, writes ‘we welcome and support the Government’s commitment to a pilot as it responds to our own call in a recent consultation to test these ideas before full implementation’.

Jenny Clifford, Head of Planning, Economy and Regeneration for MDDC says ‘we are vey pleased to be involved. We are working with consultants Hyas and David Hawes, and the project is being managed by Paul Brockway from Hyas’.

The project will test the National Model Design Code (NMDC) in each area, it will last six months and it is hoped that local stakeholders and other interested groups, including this Society, will be involved at some stage. For more on the National Model Design Code, please see the Applications, Consultations and Responses Page.

Please also see MDDC’s announcement.

Our Next Meeting

We have arranged an extra meeting for Tuesday, July 6th, at 7.30 pm, when Dr Helen Wilson will give a Zoom presentation on ‘The Remarkable Pinwill Sisters’. The three sisters were highly accomplished woodcarvers and they, and the company they set up, provided superb carvings for as many as 185 churches throughout Devon and Cornwall in the late 19th century and early 20th centuries. Helen has recently published a richly illustrated book on the subject.  She is a Member of the Devonshire Association Executive Committee and Chair of the Buildings Section,

For further splendid images, especially from Ermington, please search for ‘Pinwill’ on the DevonChurchLands website

‘Planning for the Future’ (See Below).

The Queen’s Speech revealed that the government plans to press ahead with the controversial new planning regulations, first revealed in the ‘Planning for the Future’ White Paper in 2020, and strongly opposed during and since the subsequent Consultation by a large number of organisations, individuals and Members of Parliament, including many Conservative MPs, It is probable that the plans will be included in a Planning Reform Bill in the Autumn, and, if passed, there would be minimal local accountability in future, It would put ‘the wrong homes in the wrong places’ (Theresa May) ‘it would be an open season for developers in rural areas’ (CPRE), and Sir Roger Gale, Conservative MP, accuses ministers of ‘smothering rural southern England in cheap-to-develop, but expensive-to-buy, estate homes’. During the consultation we opposed the new plans, as did Civic Voice and CPRE. Please see The Guardian’s article published on Wednesday, May 12th.

APPG. (All Party Parliamentary Group for Civic Societies).

Civic Voice have requested all their members to write to their local Members of Parliament requesting them to join this important parliamentary pressure and advisory group.. This is our letter to Neil Parish, based on a Civic Voice template. MPinviteAPPG_1 Neil Parish MP,

‘To War With the Walkers. One Family’s Extraordinary Story of the Second World War’.
Those who enjoyed Annabel’s excellent presentation about the fortunes of a Tiverton family during WW2 will be
pleased to know that The Works in Tiverton are stocking a good supply of the paperback version of her book, retailing
at £3.00.
 The Fly Tipping EpidemicIMG_0549 (2).                                                    Fly-Tipping Near Knightshayes, April 2021

The fly-tipping ‘epidemic’ has become far worse during the recent lockdowns, and it can create an unattractive and unhealthy problem in our rural environment.  To report the problem in Mid Devon, please see:

Also, please see The Guardian; and CPRE’s campaign report on this issue.

The Anaerobic Digester Problem.

Lewis Clarke’s excellent interview with Tiverton’s MP, Neil Parish, for In Your Area, has highlighted a problem of real concern for many people. Neil feels that “the whole thing seems to be getting out of control now. We desperately need a policy on ADs; otherwise, it will get totally out of control.” Very large, and often very wide, tractors towing heavily trailers and tankers loaded with feedstock and digestate to and from Anaerobic Digesters are moving in increasingly large numbers along local roads, and the problem is likely to become much worse. The two local AD plants are the Red Linhay, at Halberton, and that at Willand, both of which draw feedstock from a very wide area, leading to concerns about road safety, enhanced pollution levels, increased congestion, and damage to local highways.

Please also see Paul Elstone’s detailed Audit Rev. 3 Red Linhay and Willand Bio Digester – AUDIT

(Paul is not a Civic Society member, and the views expressed are his own.)

A Solution for the ‘Road to Nowhere’ and a Start for Development of Area A of the Eastern Urban Extension?

The aerial photograph, taken in 2004, shows much of the area covered by the Eastern Urban Extension. Apart from the Blundell’s playing fields in the foreground, most of the green fields shown have already been developed, or are designated for future housing and employment! Outline planning permission has already been granted for Area A.

The following detailed Reserved Matters Planning Applications have been submitted, which include plans for the building of 166 houses, a new road leading towards the A361 junction and a controversial Poynton shared-space roundabout at the junction with Blundell’s Road.

21/00374/MARM | Reserved Matters in respect of (landscaping, layout and scale) for infrastructure associated with initial phases of development, following Outline approval 14/00881/MOUT | Land at NGR 298088 113134 (Adjacent Barnesmead) Blundells Road Tiverton Devon.

Our letter concerning this application follows:

TCS Letter Concerning 21.00374.MARM Letter May 2021

This application will be decided by the MDDC Planning Committee on June 16th, the Planning Officer’s recommendation being that it should be approved with conditions.

Please also see the related application, submitted on March 18th 2021:

21/00454/MARM | Reserved Matters (appearance, landscaping, layout and scale) for 166 dwellings with the provision of public open space, vehicular and pedestrian access, landscaping, drainage and related infrastructure and engineering works following Outline approval 14/00881/MOUT | Land East of Tiverton, South of A361, and Both North and South of Blundells Road Uplowman Road Tiverton Devon. 

TCS Response to Redrow Homes Application 21.00454.MARM May,2021 was submitted on May 5th.

Please also see 21-00454-MARM OBJECTION LETTER – REDROW 166 HOMES – P.E. submitted to MDDC  by Paul Elstone on Thursday, 8th April.   

The highly unsatisfactory planning application by Redrow Homes is yet another example of a developer attempting to ‘call the tune’, in this case by ignoring and overturning several of the core principles and requirements laid down in both the TEUE Masterplan and the TEUE Design Guide, In addition, as David Randell has persuasively shown, ‘the application shows a blatant ignorance of the current movement to set targets to reduce Global Warming…and is making no effort to achieve the commitment of Mid Devon District Council’s requirement to improve energy efficiency’.

This is allocated land, the outline application has been approved, and we therefore support the development if both the Masterplan and Design Guide are closely followed, and there is a greater commitment to energy efficiency. However,the application should be withdrawn, replanned, rewritten, and resubmitted, or, failing that, refused planning consent until the issues described in these responses have been satisfactorily resolved. The Tiverton Eastern Extension is the largest housing development in the town’s history and it should not be allowed to become a tarnished pipe-dream.

Please also see Paul’s draft letter concerning the Arboricultural Impact Assessment for this application.21-00454-MARM OBJECTION LETER No.2

Also, please see Paul’s third draft letterDRAFT – 21-00454-MARM OBJECTION LETER No.3 14-05-2021 (1)

In addition, please see the  previously approved Outline Planning Application 14/00881/MOUT.

This application will be decided by the MDDC Planning Committee on June 23rd.

Green Bullet, February 2021

The Latest Green Bullet, published by CPRE North-West, is now available. As usual, it contains a wealth of useful information and links on environmental issues.

Application by David Wilson Homes to Build 86 Homes and Associated Infrastructure etc at Braid Park, Tiverton.

21/00128/MFUL | Erection of 86 dwellings to include public open space, landscape planting, pedestrian, cycle and vehicular links; and associated infrastructure | Land at NGR 298634 113714 (Braid Park) Uplowman Road Tiverton Devon
This application for new housing on allocated land in the Tiverton Eastern Urban Extension is located between Uplowman Road and the A361 North Devon Link Road, and it is part of the planned Braid Park Development. Full details can be viewed on the MDDC Planning Portal.
Our response to this application has now been submitted:
This application will be decided by the MDDC Planning Committee on June 23rd.

Historic England.

The February 2021 Newsletter is now available. Historic England have also made available ten films which imagine the future of the high street. The March 2021 Newsletter , and the April 2021 Newsletter are now also available.

Pollution in Towns and Cities

The latest research by the charity ‘Centre for Cities’ suggests that 1 in 16 deaths in the south of England is directly linked to pollution and urges the government to bring in much stricter guidelines. This has been widely reported in the media recently, including The Independent, 

In Tiverton and Mid Devon air pollution is carefully monitored, particular roads which are a potential concern in Tiverton being Leat Street and Blundell’s Road between Tidcombe Lane and the Horsdon Roundabout, although national pollution limits are not exceeded at either location. It is essential that further  major development, which would feed more traffic along these roads, should not proceed until alternative routes are opened, and that the Eastern Urban Extension should not proceed further until the link between Blundell’s Road and the full junction with the A361 North Devon Link Road is completed. Also, please refer to the Archives Page.

‘Anyone can enter a postcode and house number at and get a report on levels of three pollutants: fine particles known as PM2.5, larger particles called PM10, and NO2, a gas that in urban areas is emitted largely by diesel vehicles. The website gives each property one of five pollution ratings from low — meaning all three pollutants are at least 80 per cent below WHO limits — to very high for those where all exceed it and one is at least 20 per cent above the limit’. (The Times 17.3.21)

Trail Tale app

The TrailTale app entry for Tiverton  has been developed in collaboration with this society. It is based upon The Merchants’ Trail and includes photographs and other information we have provided. Full details of the app, which can be downloaded onto Smart Phones free of charge, can be found at:

Details for Tiverton, and many other towns (but few in the South West) can be found under ‘Guided Walks.The history of many of our finest buildings is outlined and illustrated.

This Website in 2020.

There were 7563 views of this website from 3877 visitors in 2020, and, in comparasion to 2019’s previous record, there was a 38% greater number of visits. These large increases reflect the widely reported increase in internet usage during the current pandemic. In 2020 the most popular months were August and December, both holiday months and both months during which controversial local planning applications were submitted and widely followed on social media, especially Facebook. Over 89% of visits were from the United Kingdom,.the remainder being from 41 different countries, only China and the USA reaching 2% of the total. By a considerable margin the Listed Buildings and Scherduled Ancient Monuments Page was the most popular, followed by the Recent News, Town Trails, and Bibliography and Resources Pages. There was a significant increase in the number of visitors requesting genealogical information who are researching their family trees.

Planning Application 20/02027/OUT to Demolish the Former Police Station in The Avenue.

This fine building, formerly Beechwood, was built for Robert Loosemoore, a Tiverton solicitor, in the early !880s, and it was one of the first houses, if not the first, to be built in The Avenue. Its distinctive features, many of which can be seen in the photograph, include elaborate decorated stonework, a fine porch, interesting terracotta roof pediments, and attractive bay windows. Because of damage from dry rot the upper part of the atrium (skylight) was removed before 2018, while the fine railings, by Garton and King, were removed during World War 2. It is not listed, mainly because of the many changes made to the building while it was a police station, both internally and externally, including the addition of a large annex on the southern side. However, many of these changes could be reversed.

The building, and the attached annexe, was used as a police station until 2012, and it is shocking that it has deteriorated so rapidly in the last eight years. This is a stark reminder of the 1960s, a time when Tiverton Civic Society, as well as many other civic societies, were formed, largely because of public dismay when ‘managed decay’ of much-prized buildings by potential developers, both locally and nationally, led to the loss of vast numbers of them, including, in Tiverton, the Palmerston Hotel and the Fore Street frontage of Starkey, Knight and Ford: Tesco, the new owners of the latter building were, at the time, widely castigated. We had hoped that this period of cultural vandalism had been left behind!

At a time when the new Government White Paper, ‘Planning for the Future’. places good design at the heart of its proposals, it is surely perverse to propose demolition of this finely proportioned building with many excellent external features, some of which could be used as exemplars when planning future local housing developments.

Why is it not possible to retain a refurbished ‘Beechwood’ as part of the proposed new housing development? An examination of the map in the Planning Statement, suggests that, with demolition of the annexe and some rearrangement, and, possibly, a small reduction, in the number and size of the plots, this would be quite feasible – during the 1970s Tiverton Civic Society were much involved in the ‘rescue’ of the 1846 former Police Station and Gaol, now Bridewell House, in St Andrew Street, which was in an even more dilapidated condition, and, in 1978, this was fully restored and converted into flats by the Devon Historic Buildings Trust and successfully incorporated into a larger development.

Writing on ‘Creative Destruction‘ in the Financial Times on January 9th Edwin Heathcote states that ‘demolition is failure-the failure of architecture to accommodate the future and the failure of the present to understand how to reuse the incredible resource of an existing building.’ Also, in an article in The Times on November 20th, 2020, entitled ‘Britain’s Glorious Historic Edifices are Crumbling Before our Eyes’ Richard Morrison wrote: ‘with all these endangered buildings the choice is the same. Do we want them to be the architectural gems of their neighbourhoods — brick testimonials to the imagination and craftsmanship of local people? Or embarrassing blots on the landscape? It’s incredible that we are even having the discussion’.

The Former Police Station can be claimed to be Tiverton’s finest Victorian house, Knightshayes being outside the settlement boundary in Bolham, yet the Heritage Statement, while recognising the ‘historic, architectural and historic interest of the building,’ states that ‘the  scope to refurbish and repurpose the building is considered unrealistic in economic and practical terms’, and, while admitting that ‘the total loss of a historical building can never be fully mitigated,’ states that ‘any residual effects should be weighed against the public benefits of the proposal in securing an optimal viable use of the site’. (Conveniently, no costings are included). Are there any overriding public benefits?

As Richard Morrison shows, this type of reasoning, leading to the eventual demolition of  many’crumbling historic buildings’ is being widely used! We consider that all options should be explored for the retention of this fine building, and that, until this has occurred, the present Planning Application should be refused.

IMG_001020/02027/OUT | Outline for the erection of 5 detached dwellings with associated parking and landscaping following demolition of existing buildings | Former Police Station 2 The Avenue Tiverton Devon EX16 4HS’

Full details of this application, including information as to how to comment, can be accessed on the MDDC Planning Portal (Click on this, and, to make a comment, click on ‘Comments’ and then click on ‘Make a Comment’).

Tiverton Civic Society’s Objection to Former Police Station Planning Application December 2020 was submitted on Thursday, 17th December

At their meeting on Monday, December 21st, Tiverton Town Council Planning Committee recommended unanimously that this Planning Application should be refused, ‘It is felt that as this is an historic building, and therefore part of the heritage of the town, the exterior of the property (front) should be retained, but developed at the rear, possibly with threerather than five dwellings.
Therefore, in its present form, Tiverton Town Council does not support this application.’

As well as Tiverton Civic Society, other influential organizations and individuals who have recommended refusal of this application include The Victorian Society, the Mid Devon Conservation Officer for Tiverton, The Campaign to Protect Rural England, The Devon Buildings Group, Professor Oliver Nicholson, and the Tiverton Neighbourhood Plan.


Many people are also very concerned by the potential threat to some of the fine trees within the application site if planning consent is given. The view above, taken from Castlebar Close, off Canal Hill, includes the very attractive line of purple (copper) beeches along the frontage to Canal Hill. (Photo by Roy Saggers).

Update. (24,5,21)

An appeal had been made to the Secretary of State against the
failure of Mid Devon District Council to give notice of its decision within an 8 week or 13 week
period of an application for permission or approval. The appeal will be determined on the basis of
written representations. The procedure to be followed is set out in Part 2 of the Town and Country
Planning (Appeals) (Written Representations Procedure) (England) Regulations 2009.

CivicVoice’s Response to the Planning White Paper consultation

Civic Voice have responded to the Planning White Paper after an intensive period of consultation. Tiverton Civic Society have now also responded.

Green Bullet (CPRE North West)

This includes a large amount of useful information and links on green issues including climate change. Both the September 2020 issue and the  November 2020 issue are now available online.

Tiverton Museum Reopening

After a long period of closure the Tiverton Museum of Mid Devon Life will be reopening on Thursday, May 20th.

Tiverton Museum Temporary Closure Emergency Appeal

The long periods of closure have been very challenging, with a massive reduction in revenues. ‘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  re-open the museum.

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

Planning Proposal for 22 Dwellings at Tumbling Field Lane

Tiverton Civic Society have objected to this Planning Application( TCS Objection to Planning Application 20.01263.MFUL (Tumbling Fields). August 2020 ) on an unallocated greenfield site because of a number of issues including flood risk, damage to the setting of Cranmore Castle and potential impairment of the views southward from the town centre. Please follow the link to the MDDC Planning Portal for this application.


The CPRE Devon Summer Newsletter has now been published.

TIdcombe Hall 

An outline planning application for up to 179 houses has been submitted for the Tidcombe Hall site. Full details for the application can be found by clicking on 20/01174/MOUT

‘Outline for the erection of up to 179 dwellings, including the conversion of Tidcombe Hall and outbuildings to 12 dwellings, a shop, a cafe, an open sided shelter, community allotments, community orchards, public open space, associated infrastructure and access with all other matters reserved | Tidcombe Hall Tidcombe Lane Tiverton Devon EX16 4EJ’

Tiverton Civic Society’s Letter of Objection has now been submitted, is posted on the MDDC website page for this application, and can be downloaded by clicking here:TCS Letter for Planning Application 20.01174 MOUT Tidcombe Hall. August 2020 (2)

Although the last official date for the submission of comments has now passed, MDDC will, in practice, accept comments up to the date when the application is discussed by the Planning Committee, and those who have already responded can write further letters, perhaps to criticize addional points or revisions made by the applicants.Picture1.jpg P+lanning Consultation 2020

                                          Concerned local residents expressing their views to the applicants in 2020!

Tiverton Town Council voted unanimously to recommend refusal of the application at their meeting on Monday, August 24th. This was the first encouraging step in what is likely to be a long battle, and much will now depend on the recommendations of the MDDC Planning Officers, and on the eventual decision of the MDDC Planning Committee. Although the final official date for submission of letters has now been reached, in practice further letters are accepted up until the date of the planning committee meeting when this application is on the agenda. It is important that members of the public continue to submit letters, especially if new information becomes available!


The applicants and the planning officer have agreed a further extension of time until 26th June, 2021, and the applicants were asked to submit any additional reports by the end of March. These reports, largely ripostes to the major objections, were posted, mainly by Walsingham Planning, on the website for this application on April 6th. They include a controversial, probably unworkable, and possibly illegal, proposal to use number plate recognition to restrict through traffic from Tidcombe Canal Bridge to Blundell’s Road to all vehicles other than buses, service vehicles and cars owned by local residents

A summary of major comments.Objections to Tidcombe Application##8 from consultees and other influential groups, as at May 24th 2021, is now available for downloading. This list will be augmented as further comments are submitted. Additional consultee comments, posted on the Planning Portal on 7th June, include one from the MDDC Tree Consultant, and another, commissioned by MDDC, which is a Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment. Both are critical of important elements of the application.

The Planning Committee meeting to discuss and make a decision on the Tidcombe application is on 23rd June, starting at 2.15pm in Phoenix House with both limited attendance and Zoom participation.

Members of the public, consultees, and local stakeholders etc. will be able to submit further comments about any new proposals submitted by the applicants, in practice right up to the date of the relevant planning committee meeting.

‘Planning for the Future’ and The Threat of Deregulation of the Planning System

‘Planning for the Future’, outlining reforms to the planning system, was published by the Government on August 4th, 2020, and its contents have already been widely publicised. Reforms include:

  • All land in local authority areas will be designated as ‘renewal’, ‘development’ or ‘protection’. (Local authorities will be given two to three years to make these designations)
  • Developers wishing to build on land designated for ‘renewal’ or ‘development’ will no longer have to go through full planning procedures.
  • Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Green Belt will be designated for ‘Protection’.
  • There will be standards to ensure properties match the style of existing homes.
  • There will be a new system of developer contributions to local infrastructure.

Eighteen charities, including the Campaign to Protect Rural England, Friends of the Earth, Woodland Trust and RSPB, have written to the prime minister to call for “locally accountable and democratic” planning rather than further deregulation.

The letter says: “Further deregulation of the planning system would erode the foundations of any green and just recovery long before the first brick is laid. Nowhere else in the world is such a deregulatory race to the bottom being considered.”

“It would be completely out of touch with the public mood, when two thirds of people reported wanting to see greater protection and investment in local green spaces after lockdown. This surge of appreciation for quality local green spaces is just one indicator of the increased appetite for action to tackle the housing, climate and nature crises head on.”.


‘We fear that the rush to remove appropriate checks and balances on how planning decisions are made could have a disastrous effect on our countryside, our communities and local democracy, without providing the affordable, sustainable homes that Devon badly needs.’  (Penny Mills, CPRE Devon)

Please also see Policy Exchange’s influential publication ‘Rethinking the Planning System for the 21st Century’.

Mid Devon Local Plan 2013-2033.

MDDC received the Inspector’s Report on the Examination of the Mid Devon Local Plan Review 2013-2033 from the Planning Inspectorate on 26th June 2020.

The Inspector has concluded that the Mid Devon Local Plan Review 2013 – 2033 provides an appropriate basis for the planning of the District, provided that a number of main modifications (MMs), are made to it to make the Plan sound and capable of adoption. With the inclusion of the Inspector’s recommended MMs, the Mid Devon Local Plan Review 2013 – 2033 satisfies the requirements of Section 20(5) of the Planning & Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 (as amended) and meets the criteria for soundness in the Framework.

The Inspector’s Report sets out where 55 MMs (Major Modifications) are needed to the Mid Devon Local Plan Review 2013-2033. The MMs all concern matters that were discussed at the examination hearings and which were subject to public consultation over a six-week period, together with the updated Sustainability Appraisal (SA), Habitat Regulations Assessment (HRA), and the Equalities Impact Assessment. In some cases, where these relate to the provisions for Gypsies and Travellers, and Junction 27 of the M5, the Inspector has amended the detailed wording of the MM and/or added consequential modifications where necessary.

The full MDDC Council voted to adopt the Local Plan Review, with minor modifications, at their meeting on Wednesday, July 29th, 2020 One important effect of this vote is that ‘substantial weight may now be attached to the policies of the Local Plan Review when making planning decisions’ and ‘where there is a conflict between the outcome which arises from the application of policies of the adopted development plan and those of the Local Plan Review, the Local Plan Review will generally outweigh the adopted plan and will prevail’. (Planning Committee Agenda, July 29th, 2020)

Our Comment: Much of the report refers to proposed developments at Cullompton and elsewhere, but some rewording to the draft policy is suggested for Tiverton, in particular the Eastern Urban Extension, which is discussed in Paragraphs 59-61.

At the Inspector’s Examinations Tiverton Civic Society representatives expressed particular concerns about the impact of a new Designer Outlet Village at Junction 27 of the M5. The inspector, although approving the aspiration and overall concept of the Junction 27 development, seeks to provide greater protection for Tiverton and other local retail centres by adding the following strengthened condition to the Plan : “Any planning application which includes a ‘designer outlet shopping centre’ should be accompanied by a full retail and Leisure Impact Assessment to ensure that any potential adverse impacts will be identified and addressed and mitigated.” 

Paragraph 139 comments on the section in the submitted Review on climate change and its mitigation.

“The Plan includes policies designed to secure that the development and use of
land in the local planning authority’s area contribute to the mitigation of, and
adaptation to, climate change. In particular, criterion j) of Policy S1 which sets
out sustainable development priorities commits the Council to meeting the
challenge of climate change by supporting a low carbon future, energy
efficiency, increasing the use and supply of renewable and low carbon energy,
managing flood risk and conserving natural resources, amongst other things.
Moreover, Policy DM2 (as modified) allows for renewable energy schemes to
come forward.”

The Inspector has also strengthened the section on Design (Page 39):

“g) Adequate levels of daylight, sunlight and privacy to private amenity spaces and principal windows;
h) Suitably sized rooms and overall floorspace which allows for adequate storage and movement within the building together as set out in the Nationally Described Space Standard with external spaces for recycling, refuse and cycle storage; and
i) On sites of 10 houses or more the provision of 20% of dwellings built to Level 2 of Building Regulations Part M ‘access to and use of dwellings.”Insert additional supporting text as follows:
“4.5b National policy states that planning should always seek to secure high quality design and a good standard of amenity for all existing and future occupants of land and buildings. This is particularly important for the design of the homes that people live in and the spaces that surround those homes. The aim in Mid Devon is to deliver high quality buildings and spaces that meet the needs of users, taking account of an aging population whilst ensuring compatibility with surrounding development and uses. Though compliance is delivered through buildings regulations, criterion i) will be implemented through a condition attached to the planning permission.”

The Inspector has, in Paragraphs 122 – 130, clarified and modified Policy DM25 on the Protection of Heritage Assets and other protected sites.

The Greater Exeter Strategic Plan and Hartnoll Farm

The Greater Exeter Strategic Plan published a Draft Policies and Site Options Consultation    in which a major residential development of between 950 and 2172 houses was proposed for 101 hectares at Hartnoll Farm by the landowner, the final number being dependent on the ‘site sensitivities’.

The GESP Plan was discussed at a ‘remote’ meeting by the MDDC Cabinet, on Thursday, August 6th. At this meeting the Cabinet voted, by 7 votes to 1 to pull out of the GESP. ‘This Cabinet believes that GESP presents Mid Devon with an unacceptable risk of large scale developments that are not warranted by any formal measure of local housing need.

  • The Cabinet, therefore, does not approve the recommendations of the Head of Planning in her report on the GESP draft policies and site options.RECOMMENDED  TO COUNCIL  that: Mid Devon:-
    1. Withdraw from GESP
    2. Bring forward the preparation of the next Local Plan Review
    3. Enter into discussions with our former GESP partners on a new Joint Strategic Planning Framework that ensures responsibility for development site allocations and targets is retained with the Local Plan

    Reason for decision:

    This Cabinet believes that GESP presents Mid Devon with an unacceptable risk of large scale developments that are not warranted by any formal measure of local housing need.

During discussions the impact of any development at Hartnoll Farm on Halberton and Sampford Peverell was highlighted.

The one member who voted against the decision was Councillor Bob Deed (Independent), Chairman of the Council, and he subsequently sacked the four Liberal members of the Cabinet, replacing them with Conservative Councillors, and thereby, if he votes with them, handing control of the Cabinet back to the Conservatives! The reaction of the sacked councillors has been posted on Devon Live.

At the Full Council Meeting on August 26th Bob Deed proposed following amendment:

The Amendment

  1. Commit to prepare a revised joint strategic statutory plan;
  2. Should Officers subsequently advise that 1. proves not to be the most appropriate option in planning terms, consider a review of other options for further strategic and cross-boundary planning matters with willing participatory authorities in the Housing Market Area;
  3. Instruct officers to review and incorporate relevant elements of the GESP Draft Policies and Site Options consultation document and other supporting documentation and evidence that remain valid;
  4. Jointly prepare necessary technical studies and evidence for the new strategic plan, including conducting a further call for sites process, align monitoring and share resources where there are planning and cost benefits for doing so;
  5. Reaffirm the Council’s commitment to the delivery of high quality development at Culm Garden Village as part of the Garden Communities Programme and continue to work collaboratively as a group of Councils in the garden communities programme with Homes England;
  6. and Task Officers to prepare a further report on staff resources to prepare a revised joint strategic plan with resources to be provided equitably to the team through equalisation arrangements.
  7. Task Officers to bring forward the preparation of the next Local Plan Review.

A vote on this amendment was carried by 25 – 10, with two abstentions

At the MDDC Cabinet Meeting on December 2nd 2020 it was RECOMMENDED to the Full Council that: in principle the production of a joint non-statutory plan be supported, to include joint strategy and infrastructure matters, for the Greater Exeter area in partnership with Exeter, East Devon, Teignbridge and Devon County Councils. This will be subject to agreement of details of the scope of the plan, a timetable for its production, the resources required, and governance arrangements to be agreed at a later date..

Tiverton Neighbourhood Plan Website

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

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.

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

The Great Tiverton Tree Plan

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

.Civic Voice Manifesto

The Civic Voice Manifesto was launched on November 18th 2019.

The National Design Guide and Design: Process and Tools planning practice guidance are published 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 reported 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.

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.

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’.

‘Samuel Taylor Coleridge and the Beauth of Tiverton’ – see the Archives Page.

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.