With over 60 miles of stunning coast and a countryside designated as an Area of Outstanding Beauty the South Hams is somewhere where many wish to live, work, retire and visit.
Consequently the region is under pressure from developers, building not so much for need but greed. Property prices are far beyond the reach of many locals. And that is posing a threat to our economy. The people we need to be able work here are simply unable to find places where they can afford to live.
Around one in twelve of all dwellings is a second home or a holiday let, a figure that can ridiculously rise to more than 70% in Hope Cove and elsewhere along the coast, where too many communities are largely abandoned and devoid of life throughout the winter months.
Few now doubt we have a housing emergency that we desperately need to resolve.
Our infrastructure too is sadly lacking. We have an 18th Century road system failing to cope with the demands of the 21st Century. As a result pollution and congestion are an ever present problem, with air quality in both Totnes and Ivybridge falling far below legally determined levels. Getting a doctor’s appointment can often prove problematic and, in some rural areas, obtaining an internet connection continues to remain a challenge.
But it is not all doom and gloom. Despite the ravages of so much inappropriate and damaging development over the years the South Hams still boasts some of the most stunning scenery to be found anywhere in these isles. Culturally there is much to enjoy. And if you enjoy walking, surfing or sailing, there are few better places to be.
The reality is, the South Hams remains an idyllic location in which to live, work and raise a family. And, as a Society, we are committed to trying to keep it that way for many more years to come.