Dear friends and colleagues,

ST MARY’S ‘HERITAGE FOR LIFE’ PLAN: Consultation Exhibitions in early 2018

You may remember that we told you early last year that the St Mary’s Partnership would hold its first public consultation events in June 2017.

Prior to that, St Mary’s with Bridgetown Parochial Church Council had embarked on a major scheme to restore the magnificent ‘At Risk’ fabric of St Mary’s church, and to reorder the interior of the building so that it is more suited to modern community use. At the same time, Totnes Trust, which is dedicated to preserving heritage buildings and improving public spaces, had embarked on a project to make the area around the Church one of the most attractive and unique heritage areas of any town in the UK.

Our two organisations had come together in the St Mary’s Partnership, and shortly afterwards were joined by the Town Council, which is responsible for the upkeep of the churchyard, and has a strong interest in one of our aims: to create better public access to the Guildhall.

The first consultation was very well received. Consequently we were able to commission sketch designs from professional designers, and these have now reached the stage where we can hold a second public consultation to finalise the proposals.

It has become evident that these projects, focusing on the St Mary’s Precinct, have so much in common that they should be masterplanned under a single banner, which we have named the St Mary’s ‘Heritage for Life’ plan. This will coordinate the work, assist with the case for obtaining finance, and potentially provide a model for heritage improvement in other parts of the town.

The second consultation exhibitions will be held 10am-5pm at St Mary’s Church on 22-23 February, and again (rescheduled due to snow) at St Mary’s Church on 23-24 March. Our project comes from the community, is for the community, and depends on its approval to move ahead. So we would be very grateful if you could publicise these events and encourage people to attend and make their views known.

One element of the masterplan involves creating a new ‘Place to Remember’, with better siting of the War Memorial, and space to record the names of those killed in recent wars. This is a sensitive matter, and we wished to hold an early consultation with relatives of the Fallen. The Mayor of Totnes kindly hosted this special advance event in the Guildhall at 2.30pm on 30 January.

We look forward to extensive participation in shaping the final development of these exciting proposals.

Best wishes,

Louis Victory (Totnes Trust) and John Birch (Parochial Church Council)
January 2018