As a result of legal investigations commissioned by the South Devon Railway Trust (SDRT) with the generous support of many in this group, Dartmoor National Park Authority (DNPA) has acknowledged some fundamental flaws in the Chuley Road Masterplan. These relate to the type of planning document adopted by the planners, and consequently the inadequacy of consultation processes pursued by them in constructing the Masterplan. As a result, DNPA planners have been forced to recommend the withdrawal of the final document approved by its Members, and return the Masterplan to consultation.
Consequently, the Masterplan will be downgraded to a draft once again, and those with views will be able to have them heard in due course. We await news of how DNPA will be consulting with interested parties and ensuring their views are heard more appropriately than before. But this should at least be an opportunity for those who feel passionately about the safeguarding of railway land and heritage assets on this site to have their views considered properly and under the spotlight.
This will be our last chance, your last chance, to make a difference.
David, myself and others have worked tirelessly to make a united case for safeguarding the heritage of this site. We feel we have contributed everything we can to establishing this group with a presence and a voice, and to make a difference to a planning process that has been unwilling to give us a fair hearing. We recognise this is now a fight to be taken on by the many passionate voices we’ve been hearing among the town’s people and beyond, who see the need for a longer term vision for this site.
We now reiterate our call for passionate and capable volunteers to come forward and lead the group into its next stage. As always, we invite your responses to firstname.lastname@example.org
Potentially, a bittersweet few days ahead for those who love Ashburton Station.
This Friday, DNPA Members will make a decision on whether to accept the recommendations of their Planning officers regarding the Chuley Road Masterplan, despite the strong concerns raised with them. If they do, the possibility of returning a railway to Ashburton station will certainly be lost forever.
Meanwhile, a former Ashburton branch locomotive is being prepared to return to the town for the first time since the line’s closure. On Saturday, GWR 0-4-2T No.1420 will join the carnival procession through Ashburton on a low-loader, courtesy of the South Devon Railway, for the town’s people to enjoy. It may turn out to be the final time anyone has the opportunity to see a locomotive in Ashburton.
A list of DNPA Members, who will make the decision, can be found here together with contact details:
FRIENDS OF ASHBURTON STATION.
NEXT MEETING FRIDAY 5th DECEMBER – 19.00 – St LAWRENCE CHAPEL, ASHBURTON.
Thank you to those who attended the short notice meeting on the 28th November. Around 20 people devoted their evening towards the cause and great progress has been made. Roughly 30% of the people there were residents of Ashburton and they discussed the huge economic benefits that a railway presence could create for the town. The next stage will be to create a formal group with the appointment of roles and responsibilities for those who wish to get involved and this will take place at the next meeting on 5th December in St Lawrence Chapel, Ashburton at 19.00. This will once again be open to all those who would like to find out more about the possibilities and benefits of preservation of the unique station area and eventual railway reinstatement to the town.
I look forward to seeing you all there and please spread the word!