“Every day a tree disappears, a new house is built, a beauty spot is threatened, and it is only through societies such as ours that something can be done to prevent further destruction of our precious and fast diminishing heritage …”
Those words were written almost 60 years ago. They are to be found in the Society’s newsletter, published in February 1963.
Since then, little has changed, even if it’s no longer a new house being built every day, but rather a new housing estate.
Sadly inappropriate development continues.
Overpriced identikit housing estates that do nothing to solve our housing crisis are being smeared across our countryside. Architecturally uninspired, they could be anywhere, but are only too obvious at Dartington, outside Dartmouth and beside the road between Bittaford and Ivybridge, to give but three examples.
Again, mature trees continue to disappear, often for no other reason than to improve somebody’s view, and to the detriment of both the environment and the wider landscape.
Of course some development is necessary. Nobody disputes the need for genuinely affordable housing. Farmers sometimes need to diversify. And we have to support our tourism and hospitality sectors on which so many local jobs depend. But it has to be the right development in the right place that is to the benefit of the wider community.
Unfortunately, all too often, that is not the case. Too many planning applications are driven by greed not need, and what makes our natural and built environment special is slowly but surely being destroyed, one inappropriate development at a time.
For more than 60 years the Society has fought to prevent the worst excesses and, thanks to the determination and commitment of its members, we have succeed in a significant number of cases. We will continue to do so in the years to come.
But we need your help. Should you share our determination to prevent yet further destruction of our precious and fast diminishing heritage we invite you to join us. All of us are volunteers and some of us are able to give more of our time and expertise the others.
Ideally you would wish to become actively involved, but even if you can do no more than simply add to our numbers, that too is important.
Because the greater our numbers, the greater our influence. And, by standing together we can continue to make a real difference.
Individual membership costs less than 20p per week. Family membership less than 30p. It’s a small price to pay to provide protection to such a priceless asset as the South Hams.