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Press Releases

26th January 2017


Expressions of interest are invited for a shop unit available in Dartmouth Market.  Please contact the Town Council on 01803 832281 for further details.

12th July 2016


Neighbourhood Plan Responses Still Welcome

Public responses to the Dartmouth Neighbourhood Plan survey of local opinion are still coming in and will be accepted for another two weeks.

Speaking at a Guildhall meeting last Monday Working Group chairman Cllr Tony Fyson said “It is encouraging that the proportion of people replying to the 12-question inquiry into people’s opinions of Dartmouth now exceeds the level achieved by other recent town-wide surveys”.

But he added “The plan will take shape according to what local people tell us, so more replies are needed to impress the independent inspector who will examine our plan once it is completed”

The Working Group agreed to extend the deadline for sending in replies to July 31st 2016. It also urged more businesses to send in completed survey forms. “The regulations allow only local residents to vote for or against the plan in the final referendum” said Cllr Fyson. “But we are going to take notice of business opinion because the prosperity of the whole community depends on getting the right conditions for local enterprise”. The Group is also looking for more business input at its meetings.

Once the wishes of the population have been identified, special Topic groups will be set up to address the main issues. The proposals of these groups will be fed into a draft plan, where difficult compromises are likely to be needed to fit conflicting ideas together.

Anyone on the electoral role for the town will have the right to vote. The Working Group, on which Councillors are in the minority, urges everyone to send in their views at this early stage.

Extra survey forms are available for those who did not receive enough copies for every adult in their household. They can be collected from the Guildhall and the collection points in the Flavel and the Townstal Community Hall.


 17th June 2016

Dartmouth Neighbourhood Plan                      Opinion Survey Launched

Dartmouth’s first public opinion survey for the town’s Neighbourhood Plan is about to start. Next week an information leaflet and a short questionnaire will drop through the letterboxes of adult residents living in the town. The views of local businesses will be collected too.

The aim is to establish the community’s priorities for the development and conservation of the town over the next 20 years. Anything affecting Dartmouth’s buildings and environment such as housing, work places, shops, transport, green spaces and parking could be included.

This plan represents a real chance for Dartmouth people to have a decisive say in the policies which will affect our town’s future. Once it is approved by a referendum of residents it will be adopted by South Hams District Council as the official plan for the town.

“This is a complicated undertaking” said Councillor Tony Fyson, who is Chairman of the special Working Group set up by the town council “but more than 2000 other places around the country are giving it a try and we should too”.

“We are gathering opinions and then we shall need evidence to support our policy proposals. We hope that over the next few months many people will contribute their ideas and expertise through our Topic Group meetings”.

“The Working Group has a key role in reconciling conflicting priorities” he added. “We shall need a spirit of compromise to make a coherent plan. But the public will have the final say on whether the plan should be adopted”.

Local people are asked to respond to a dozen questions. They include five which cover some straightforward personal information to allow the Working Group to identify the various interests of different sections of the community. All such information will be treated as strictly confidential and people can opt out of receiving further information about the plan-making process if they wish.

Completed survey forms can be returned by post to the Guildhall or delivered by hand there or at the Flavel Centre or the Townstal Community Hall. The closing date for this is Friday July 15th 2016.


31st October 2014

Dartmouth youth service resumes.

Young people in Dartmouth will soon see the return of their town's youth service, after Dartmouth Town Council has secured the building and is bringing in new youth workers to run it.

Devon County Council withdrew from the Ivy Lane service at the end of September, after re-structuring its county-wide youth service.

Government funding cuts have led to the County Council targeting its reduced funding on support specifically for vulnerable young people, operating its youth service from eight strategic youth hubs, one in each District Council location. But with no building in Dartmouth.

Agreement has been reached to transfer the youth centre building from County to Town Council ownership, and the County Council has made some transitionary funding available to help kick-start the new venture.

Planned to reopen on Thursday 6 November, Dartmouth Town Council will be using a mixture of teachers from Dartmouth Academy and youth workers who are involved with the 10 Tors Challenge to run the new service.

Dartmouth Mayor, Robert Lyon, said:

"Dartmouth Town Council is proud to take back the Ivy Lane centre. We expect that it will soon become a very important community asset, not just for the town's young folk but other groups like the Food bank. We are already getting enquiries from sports organisations and from local bands for rehearsal space."

Young people have welcomed the news.

Etielle Chambers, local student and user of the youth club, said:

"This is really great news, and I look forward to meeting my friends at the youth centre once more."

Teresa Pink, Volunteer Youth Worker, said:

"I am really happy that the young people can still use the centre as their own space, and I look forward to continuing to work with them."

Councillor James McInnes, Devon County Council's Cabinet Member with responsibility for the Council's youth service, said:

"This is splendid news, and thanks largely to officers at the County Council and colleagues in the Town Council who have worked very hard to secure this transfer. It means that with very little gap in service, young people are enjoying a service again that they can all attend, while the County Council focuses its targeted youth support on the vulnerable young people who most need it."

Councillor Jonathan Hawkins, local Devon County Councillor for the town, said:

“I am very pleased that Dartmouth Town Council has been the first to achieve a transfer of a Devon County Community youth facility.

"With the formation of The Friends of Ivy Lane the Centre now has a secure foundation to build on. I look forward to being a member of this group, and we are all determined to provide a youth facility that we can be proud of.

"A big thank you to all who have worked so hard over the past months this had been a real community achievement."

The new service will be open again for one night a week to start with, but the Town Council aims increase that as soon as resources allow it.



30th September 2014

South West in Bloom Awards 2014

Dartmouth in Bloom Award Winners


Dartmouth won the Gold Award and the Ayre Cup for best in category (small Coastal town with population under 10,000 in the South West - Scilly Isles to Gloucester)

Silver Gilt in the 2014 Poppy Award for the best commemorative poppy bed) went to the Sea Cadets Memorial bed and the Royal Avenue Gardens poppy bed combined.

Royal Avenue gardens won a Gold Award in the best Parks and Open Spaces in the South West category.

Milton Lane Allotments won a Gold Award in the new Best Allotment Site in the South West category.

Townstal was awarded Silver Gilt in the Pennant Category for the village to small town group... (our first year of entry)

The Monk Trophy for the best planting of native wildflowers went to Townstal (near Sainsburys, by the roundabout)

We achieved nine good ‘It’s Your Neighbourhood’ awards... (we only had one Outstanding last year)

Foss Street - Outstanding

Milton Lane Allotments - Outstanding

Coombe Terrace - Outstanding
St Saviour’s Square/Anzac St - Outstanding

Potager and Greenhouse Site - Outstanding
Higher St/Smith St - Thriving

The Old Market - Thriving

St John the Baptist School - Thriving
Townstal Community Hall and Bus Stop Triangle - Developing.

We were also shortlisted for the following categories (judged against all the town, village and city entries in the South West).

  • Outstanding Contribution to the Environment
  • Best Environmental Initiative’ - Townstal
  • Best Portfolio’
  • Best Pub floral display in the South West


17th September 2014



The kind invitation from a team of organisers of the 350th Anniversary from Dartmouth, Massachusetts was sent out earlier in the year. The Town Council voted to send a delegation to represent Dartmouth, Devon to support and congratulate them on their Founding.

Gina Coles, who headed the tour from Devon, liaised with the organising committee in America, headed by Peggy Cabral and Ed Tavares, and did an excellent job of booking the flights, the transport and finding host families to accommodate everyone. This was quite a logistical campaign, which was carried out with great success.

On our arrival, we were met by the Deputy Sherriff, Jamie Melo and Eric, who were waiting with transport and helped organise the cars for the various members of the team who were driving. The Town Sergeant took on the Mayor’s car and we all set off in convoy to Dartmouth, where we met our families.

The kindness and generosity of all these families was amazing. Nothing was too much trouble and they welcomed us and had organised an itinerary so that we could see and appreciate the many interesting and diverse aspects of our ‘Sister City’.

We all attended the hospitality Gala Dinner on the Saturday night where the delegation from the Azores was also welcomed to the city. Many welcome speeches were given and the companionship between the three countries was established.

Sunday was the highlight of their celebrations with a Parade, which was over three miles long with over 100 floats, vehicles, bands and everything in between. The Parade was headed by the Mayors of three Azores towns, some young people from their schools followed by the Town Sergeant, Ron Lambden, the Mayor and Mayoress of Dartmouth, Rob and Diane Lyon, Councillor Tony Fyson, MBE, Mrs. Hilary Fyson and Nigel Way, MBE, who were walking. Gina Coles and Peggy Cabral rode in a bright red Cadillac with the rest of the visitors, headed by Old Dartmothian President, Lewis Langworthy and his wife Janet, transported in a wonderful old tram.

The crowds lining the route all greeted and cheered The Mayor in his long red coat and Regalia, with the Town Sergeant leading the way. The temperature on the day was about 35 degrees, which is not a good temperature to wear a long, wool and fur coat with a very large hat! The Town Sergeant was also wearing his formal attire of long, black wool coat and top hat. The Mayoress was more fortunate in being able to wear a summer dress and sun hat!

This Parade lasted over three hours and was a sight to behold! The Dartmouth, Mass marching band has won many awards and it was easy to see why. Dressed in dark green (the town’s colour) with long white feathers in their peaked caps they marched playing instruments, twirling flags and cheer leading the whole procession. So many community organisations were represented in the Parade so we were able to see and appreciate the pride that they have in their town.

The host family that were looking after the Mayor and Mayoress were Lara and Jeff Stone. Lara is one of five Select Board Members who are elected to run the administration of Dartmouth and is, in fact, Vice-Chairman. Their three children were very interested in the Regalia of the Mayor’s Office and, in an impromptu addition to the itinerary, we organised a visit to the Joseph DeMello Elementary School. This is the school attended by Sam, their youngest son. The children were delighted to see the Mayor and Mayoress arrive in their classroom with the Town Sergeant asking them to be “upstanding”. They all inspected the historical Mace and Mayoral chains and the Town Sergeant gave them a brief history on the historical value of the items. They were absolutely thrilled and, the next day, 21 individual ‘thank-you’ letters arrived from the children.

The itinerary included visits to Dartmouth Town Hall, the University of Massachusetts where we met the Chancellor Dr. Divina Grossman and enjoyed two very interesting lectures on the founding of Dartmouth, Massachusetts. There was an expedition to an ECO site where electricity is being produced from a rubbish tip, an art school, a fire station, the Sherriff’s Office and the Whaling Museum. This museum is astonishing, and contains a unique history of the incredibly hard life that was such a big part of this part of America and the connection with the Azores. We had too short a time there but enjoyed the talk given by Arthur P. Motta Jnr, very much.

During the visit to Dartmouth, there was a Primary Election and the Mayor and Mayoress met with the Democratic representative who was standing for election. His name is Chris Markey and on the day of the election we met up with him at the end for the official counting of the votes. He was successful in his running and it was great fun and an honour to be able to congratulate him on his being re-elected.

The visit to the Boston State House was another of those very special events that will live long in the memory. A trip on a tram to tour round Boston City was organised prior to visiting the State House, so we were able to see all the glories of that beautiful city. And it was another perfect day with the weather. We met up with Chris Markey again prior to our tour of the House and he presented the Mayor and Mayoress with a Certificate to commemorate the visit.

The Mayor presented the Town with a Commemorative 350th Anniversary inscription, penned by Devon Scribe, Melvyn Stone together with a plaque from the Port of Dartmouth Royal Regatta. Plaques of Dartmouth Town were presented to Chris Markey at the Boston State House, the Chancellor of University of Massachusetts, Dr. Divina Grossman and The County Sherriff, Mr. Tom Hodgson. The Sheriff’s Office played a vital part in the visit as the Dartmouth Town Regalia had to be secure at all times. The three Deputy Sheriffs carried out their duties with such kindness and diligence and made firm friends with the Town Sergeant. We certainly couldn’t have done it without them.

Dartmouth, Massachusetts is a very lovely city. Beautiful houses, a huge number of trees and very kind people. The connection between our two towns is to be nurtured and, hopefully, many more exchanges will be organised in the coming years.

Robert Lyon and Diane Lyon

Mayor and Mayoress





5th September 2014 - Neighbourhood Plan Public meeting - 15th September 2014


The Town Council’s new Neighbourhood Plan initiative gets off to a flying start on Monday 15th September with a public meeting at the Guildhall at 7.00pm.

The Chairman of the Dartmouth Town Council’s Neighbourhood Planning working group, Cllr Tony Fyson commented that “Neighbourhood Plans are a new way of doing local planning which allows creation of the plan to be led by the local community rather than by the more remote planning authority. If we in Dartmouth had decided not to make a plan, all the decisions about the town’s future would have continued to be made by South Hams District Council”.

Neighbourhood Plans focus on the use and development of land and associated social, economic and environmental issues. But their scope can vary and should be decided locally. It is not prescribed by central or local government.

The challenge for the Neighbourhood Plan working group will be to find a way to consensus across a broad range of opinion. The Town Council aims to enable the process, not to dictate its conclusions; Councillors will be in a minority on the working group.

The purpose of the first meeting is to hear from the public what themes and issues it would like to see addressed in the plan. Some of the key organisations of the town have been invited but individuals are also welcome to contribute. There will be many more public meetings focused on specific matters like housing, jobs, shops, tourism and transport. There will also be opportunities for the public to attend meetings of the working group.

Cllr Fyson added “More than 700 other groups around the country are at various stages in the process, which can take as long as two years or more to complete. None is finding it easy and I am sure we are in for some lively disagreements along the way. But the bottom line is that we must reach general agreement about what goes into the plan or we will simply be ignored”.

Once drafted, a plan must be publicised to people who live, work or run businesses in the town and be accepted by the planning authority as compatible with its wider strategic concerns. An independent examiner will assess it before it is put to a public referendum to seek a ‘yes-or-no’ majority. If passed it then becomes part of the South Hams statutory Local Development Plan.



14th June 2014 & 30th May 2014

The Mayor Cllr Rob Lyon presents a plaque to the Captain of the MV Serenissima (below right - 30th May 2014).

The Mayor and Mayoress Cllr Rob Lyon and Mrs Lyon on board MV Minerva with Captain Neil Broomhall (below left - 14th June 2014).

Minerva from 14th June 2014. Minerva from 14th June 2014.

4th March 2014
The Town Council is pleased to announce that following an informal meeting held under the Council's Standing Orders on Monday 3rd March 2014, the new Mayor Elect for the Civic Year 2014/15 is Councillor Rob Lyon and the new Deputy Mayor Elect is Councillor Richard Cooke.

4th March 2014
At their meeting on Monday 3rd March 2014 Town Councillors approved a decision taken by the Personnel Committee to raise all the Town Council staff salaries to a “Living Wage” level. The Town Council is very proud of its staff and hopes that all other businesses in the Town will follow this example.

19th December 2013
Dartmouth Town Council is very proud of the Market and this year has decided to enter Dartmouth Market in the National Association of British Market Authorities (Nabma) Market of the Year Competition.  Get the full Press Release here

1st October 2013


  • The Register of Electors is compiled each year.
  • Information is required by law, from each household, annually – forms were sent out on 1 October. If you haven’t received one contact South Hams District Council Electoral Registration Office (01803) 861434
  • Persons who do not register may be liable for a fine of up to £1000.
  • Electors whose details are printed correctly on the form may register using the automated free phone number (if the telephone used has touch-tone dialling), or via the internet – using the security numbers printed on the form. Or simply by signing and posting back the form.
  • Only those persons whose names appear on the Register will be entitled to vote.
  • You have some choice about who can buy your details. The Electoral Registration Officer must publish two registers: the full version and an edited version. If you place a tick in the box on the registration form for exclusion from the edited register, your name and address will only appear on the full register which will only be used for certain lawful purposes, such as elections, law enforcement and checking applications for credit. If you do not place a tick in the box on the registration form your name will also appear on the edited version of the register which anyone can buy – this means anyone can use your details for any purpose.
  • There is no qualifying date so you do not have to wait to provide the information requested. Please return your form without delay to avoid a reminder being sent or a personal visit.


ELECTORAL ADMINISTRATOR, SOUTH HAMS DISTRICT COUNCIL ________________________________________________________________________________________________

30th July 2013

Following the retirement of Mr Chris Horan, who served the Council as Clerk for nearly 15 years, we are pleased to confirm the appointment of Mrs Tracy Rowe as his replacement with immediate effect.

Tracy first joined the Council as assistant to the Clerk in 2008 after several years working with Horsham District and Nuthurst Parish Councils. Within a year of her joining, the Council identified a need to have a formal Deputy Clerk and Mrs Rowe stepped into this role and has continued to fill it up until today. She is a member of the Society of Local Council Clerks, holds the Certificate in Local Council Administration and is now in her third year of a degree course in Community Engagement and Governance at the University of Gloucestershire. She is shortly to become a Fellow of the Institute of Local Council Managers. With her excellent performance as Deputy Clerk and record of professional improvement, members of the Council had no hesitation in offering the post of Clerk and Responsible Financial Officer to Mrs Rowe on the retirement of Mr Horan.

Mrs Rowe has enjoyed a varied career over the years including 25 years in Local Government and 12 years in Finance for the BBC. She has been married to Jeff for 26 years and has 2 grown up children. Amongst her many outside interests, she is currently Hon Secretary to the Port of Dartmouth Regatta Committee.

9th February 2013
The Mayor's Civic Dinner

Another successful Civic Dinner was held at the Guildhall in Dartmouth. 82 guests attended including the Deputy Lord Mayor of Exeter, Mayor of Torbay, Mayor of Totnes, Mayor of Ivybridge, and the Mayor of Kingsbridge along with many other dignitaries.

Civic Dinner Photo
Civic Dinner Photo
Civic Dinner Photo

8th January 2013
When considering its annual precept for the year 2013/2014, Dartmouth Town Council has taken into account the urgent need to sustain and further develop growth in the community and commercial activities of the town.

Whilst the Council is making strenuous efforts to reduce its costs and there has been a significant increase in revenue from property, it is aware of the fact that Central Government intends to implement a gradual devolution of services from County and District authorities to Town and Parish Councils which will inevitably mean an increase in cost to those local councils without equivalent financial support.

The Council has also been advised by the Internal Auditor of the need to develop prudent financial reserves for the future and with a major focus on maintaining its portfolio of property and assets, together with increasing its commitment to providing increased funding to local youth and other voluntary organisations plus capital funding for the enhancement of Dartmouth’s historical heritage and future projects such as the long awaited indoor swimming pool, it is felt that an increase in its precept which amounts to approximately £15 per year in Council tax on a Band D property can be justified as prudent financial management for the benefit of the whole community.

Cllr Paul Allen
Town Mayor