Preparing for Ranger Ralphers – Lydford, December 2013
On Sunday 1st December, Ranger Ralphers got together for a fantastic morning and afternoon making Nature’s Decorations. The event was jointly hosted with the National Trust at Lydford Gorge. Members were able to make lots of things to decorate their homes including Wooden Reindeer (with a little help from Adrian Shaw, Head Ranger at Lydford, and Gorge volunteers), candle screens and cone owls with National Park Voluntary Warden Abi Ball, natural clay bird seed feeders with Ranger Ella and sock snowmen and Christmas Elves with Helen Jenny (National Park Authority Member). Ralphers were also going home with woven willow balls of all sizes having been shown how to make them by Voluntary warden John Banks and Dan Hooper, a work placement student from Bicton College.
Ranger Ralph Reindeer!
Afternoon tea was served up an hour before the end. Keeping it seasonal we had mince pies and clotted cream, juice and some of Helen’s gorgeous homemade cakes, and over lunch to keep warm we all had a sing song around the fire, singing the Twelve Days of Christmas.
Ranger Ralphers getting creative – Lydford, December 2013
Everyone had a great day, and we all look forward to another one this year. Don’t worry, only another 357 days to go!
Ranger Rob Taylor (Ranger Sector F)
Further to the June blog here’s a quick update on progress on the Ashburton Masterplan.
As a reminder – in April 2013 Dartmoor National Park Authority, working with Teignbridge District Council commissioned BDP to develop a masterplan for the Chuley Road site in Ashburton.
The masterplan will provide a strategy to guide the regeneration of the site at Chuley Road to deliver benefits for the community such as new housing, businesses, improved access and parking, and a better quality environment. In June we held a Stakeholder Surgery event, inviting the local community to provide their opinions on the issues and hopes for the future of the Chuley Road site. Since then BDP have been hard at work on analysing the messages from the community, conducting further research and studies, and developing their ideas. A summary of the key messages from the consultation can be downloaded from and you can also join the online debate on Facebook.
Cllr. Phillip Vogel (Teignbridge District Council and Dartmoor National Park Authority member) says:
“The Ashburton community has embraced the masterplan as a positive step in the right direction for the Chuley Road site. Those that have already been involved have given strong opinions and interesting thoughts on the role of the site and on the contribution it can make in future to strengthening Ashburton as a great place to live, work and visit. It is good to have the National Park Authority, Teignbridge District Council and Ashburton Town Council working in partnership on this project.
We are delighted with the level of interest and willingness of the community to be involved in the process so far and we hope that this continues. It is vital that the masterplan reflects the needs and hopes of the community and this is a unique opportunity to make sure this is achieved. The National Park Authority is keen to promote this active approach to community engagement. We urge everyone to contact BDP and get involved in some way in developing the ideas by either making comments on the Facebook community page or joining the People’s Panel.”
So here’s the important bit – BDP are now inviting the community to hear and comment on their initial ideas at a People’s Panel workshop, which will be held on 24th July 2013 from 3pm to 6pm in St Lawrence Chapel, St Lawrence Lane. The team will present the ideas and participants will be invited to discuss and provide feedback. The People’s Panel is essential to developing a realistic masterplan that is supported by the community, and it is hoped the panel can remain involved in implementing the proposals once the final masterplan is complete.
If you would like to see the ideas and have your say, please contact Tom Rudd by emailing email@example.com or by calling 020 7812 8262.
There will be further opportunities to get involved throughout the summer, including a formal consultation period on the draft plan before the final plan is published towards the end of the year.
Today the National Park Authority has adopted the Development Management and Delivery Plan (or ‘DMD’ as we know it). This document was 3 years in preparation during which time we attended around 30 community engagement events, and received nearly one thousand individual comments (or ‘representations’) on the plan – positive and negative, as it progressed to examination. We submitted the plan to the Secretary of State in May 2012; the examination by an independent Inspector from the Planning Inspectorate lasted 12 months, and included 5 days of public hearings and two additional periods of consultation.
So what do we have at then end of all this!? The DMD replaces the remaining ‘saved’ policies from the 2004 Local Plan, and, together with the Core Strategy is now the development plan or ‘local plan’ for the National Park. It includes 47 ‘general’ policies covering topics like affordable housing, landscape, the historic environment, farm diversification, renewable energy, and economic development. These will be used in our day to day decision making on planning applications. The DMD also includes 19 site specific policies which include development sites like those already moving forward at Chagford and Ashburton, as well as areas specially protected from development, such as the conservation area at South Zeal. ‘Allocating’ development sites in this way aims to provide certainty for communities and developers around where it is considered are the most appropriate sites for new development to take place.
The two plans together look forward to 2026, but will be kept under regular review.
That doesn’t mean us Forward Planners now get a rest, though! We’re currently busy supporting communities and developers in bringing some of the allocated sites forward through masterplans and development briefs, we’re working on an Affordable Housing SPD, a range of research projects, and will be looking at how we update the Minerals Local Plan. That’s plenty to be getting on with before we start all over again with a new local plan! But for the moment we can at least rest easy that (as required by national policy) Dartmoor is covered by a range of robust and up to date planning policies; aiming to enable communities to thrive whilst protecting the National Park’s valuable environment.
A brief moment to breathe on Friday afternoon and share our busy week down at Ashburton!
In May the National Park Authority, working with Teignbridge District Council appointed BDP to take forward a Masterplan for the Chuley Road site on the edge of Ashburton town centre.
The site at Chuley Road has been identified in the local plan for Dartmoor; the opportunity has arisen to redevelop this site for a mix of employment uses, housing, car parking and open space, as some of the major landowners wish to move on from the site. Keen to take a strategic approach and make the most of what could be a great opportunity to improve the area, we are looking for a masterplan to be prepared before planning applications come forward on the site.
On Wednesday 5th and Thursday 6th June we held two sessions in Ashburton Town Hall to discuss what people might like to see happen with the site, as well as having an opportunity to flag up issues and priorities for the community. At the same time we had an exhibition from Hastoe Housing (thank you for the photo – we forgot!) who were talking to local people about an upcoming scheme at the other end of the town – an affordable housing development at Longstone Cross. This site is also identified in the local plan and Hastoe has money from the Homes and Communities Agency to build some of these – which is great news for Ashburton.
Both sessions were really well attended, many people took the opportunity to make a 30 minute appointment to meet with Becky or Tom from BDP and talk through the issues for the Chuley Road site, this included landowners, local business owners and residents. We were there to answer questions and hopefully help the large number of people who dropped in to find out what it is all about. Stuart Barker (Devon County/Teignbridge/Dartmoor Member), Philip Vogel (Teignbridge/Dartmoor Member) and John Nutley (Dartmoor Member/Mayor of Ashburton) also gave a lot of their time on the Wednesday to hear the views of local people.
The site at Longstone Cross will be the first to come forward, with an application for affordable housing on the site later in the summer. We’re just at the beginning of the process for Chuley Road, though. There will be plenty of opportunities for local people to get involved – check the web page (www.dartmoor.gov.uk/ashburtonmasterplan), or follow progress on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/chuleyroadmasterplan. The masterplan process will continue through 2013, and hopefully into 2014 we may start to see some change on site as planning applications come forward.
A big thank you to the people of Ashburton for embracing this so positively – hopefully we’ll be able to work together over the next few months to shape some positive development in the town for the benefit of the community.