04. August 2021 · Comments Off on AGM – winding up the Society · Categories: News

The Topsham Society Annual General Meeting was held on Thursday 30 September 2021 at 7.30pm in Matthews Hall, Topsham. The meeting agreed with the proposals to wind up the Society and to transfer its Planning Group to the Topsham Community Association (TCA). It was agreed that the Society’s funds would be transferred to the TCA, to be used only to support the activities of the Planning Group.

14. March 2021 · Comments Off on The Future of the Society · Categories: News

The President writes:

It has been my concern for some time that the fragmented nature of the numerous town groups leaves us weaker in defending us as a community. This, coupled with the ongoing struggle we all face to attract new members, has lead us to investigate an amalgamation with the Topsham Community Association. Discussion are ongoing and a series of proposals will be put to the Society’s membership at our 2021 AGM, which has been delayed until it is Covid appropriate to undertake. Once this is resolved, I will be looking to expand the expertise of the Planning Panel, so we are better placed to make persuasive and considered assessment of proposal and where appropriate, arguments. If you have interests in design, planning, conservation and related matters and want to help not just conserve, but help form a better Topsham, we would be happy to hear from you.

14. March 2021 · Comments Off on Planning News · Categories: News, Planning

Planning applications on the previously protected Topsham Gap Lands, continue to be a focus for the Planning Panel’s work. Recent cases include the Reserved Matters/replacement Detailed applications for 7 houses (20/0121/RES) and 27 houses (increased from the 23 approved at outline stages) (20/0437/FUL) off Newcourt Road, the approval of 64 houses at Broom Park off Exeter Rd (20/0321/FUL) 155 Houses off Clyst Rd (20/0849/RES) and a 5 storey office slab block off Wessex Close (20/0938/FUL).

In each case the Society has objected to proposals, but despite vociferous objection, including representing the town at Planning Committee meetings (which due to Covid restrictions are now online, buffering elected councillors from the impact of physical representation from towns people) all have been approved, despite all being in contravention of Exeter City Councils adopted Policy. Dispiritingly, at one recent meetings the Chairman of the Council, who had previously been a more understanding member of the pro-growth Labour-led council, stated in response to ward members observation that Topsham had taken its fair share of volume development, that “Topsham is a port and that boat has sailed”. From this and the recent draft GESP (Greater Exeter Strategic Plan) it is clear that the council no longer has the will to offer even token resistance to the loss of the Gap.

Whilst the Society understand the difficulty the Council has placed itself in by failing to foresee the impact of Housing Supply Targets when these were introduced in 2012, its inaction in the intervening 9 years to “plug the hole” is lamentable and leaves all City communities exposed to the Wild West of unplanned development. This pro growth at any cost stance was highlighted by the Wessex Close office approval, where despite there not being the policy driver as there is for housing  the Council placed reliance on the conclusions of the applicant-commissioned report by the Devon Design Review Panel which was not made available to the public for comment, over the strong opposition of the councils own Urban Designer who mirrored many of the Society’s objections. The Society believe this is a clear breach of due process, setting a dangerous precedent, and is pursuing the matter currently. Public presentations at Planning Meetings are limited to 3 minutes. Previously the Society has been able to boost its impact by our ward member asking questions, so we could expand our arguments, and making his own statement about applications. It was particularly concerning recently that our new local ward member on the Planning Committee failed to either ask questions or speak in defence of the town. We are attempting to ensure this situation does not reoccur.

09. July 2020 · Comments Off on Walks and Talks · Categories: News

Because of the constraints imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Society is unable to provide the twice-weekly guided tours of Topsham. They will resume in 2021. Further information will appear here.

We hope to be able to restart the regular talks programme in the autumn.

19. June 2020 · Comments Off on In Limbo · Categories: News

The Society is, like many other organizations, in limbo and unable to hold any public events. The Planning Sub-committee continues to keep an eye on planning applications and submits comments or objections to the Planning Department when considered appropriate.

25. April 2019 · Comments Off on AGM 2020 · Categories: News

The 56th Annual General Meeting of the Topsham Society would have been held at Matthews Hall, Topsham on Thursday 21 May 2020 at 7.30pm. Owing to the pandemic situation, It has been postponed until Thursday 20 May 2021.

We are seeking new committee members. In particular, there are vacancies for Vice President, Chairman and Talks Organiser.

10. January 2019 · Comments Off on Talks 2019 · Categories: News

We now have confirmed the talk for 21 February. Details are here.

29. December 2018 · Comments Off on Talks 2019 – dates for your diaries · Categories: News

There will be a programme of talks in the new year. Details of the topics will follow soon. Dates are 24 January, 21 February and 21 March. All are Thursday evenings.

Please note that we still need a talks secretary to arrange the programme for the autumn onwards.

01. October 2018 · Comments Off on No Talks Secretary, no talks. · Categories: News

Our talks secretary resigned eighteen months ago, and the Society has not been able to find anyone to take on the role. The Committee feels that it should concentrate its resources at present on responding to planning applications, etc.

Consequently there will be no evening talk in September and October, but the Committee has committed to organising the annual Oboussier Lecture on 15th November. Details to follow.

If there’s a member (or members) out there who would be willing to take on organising speakers for the talks we would be very pleased to hear from you – contact myself, José Northey or any committee member. Don’t feel that you have to be brimful of ideas to start with – we have a list of potential speakers and topics, and previous Talks Secretaries have also said that they will be happy to help out with ideas and processes.

29. March 2017 · Comments Off on The 2018 Topsham Calendar · Categories: News

The 2018 Topsham Calendar is available. The price, with envelope, remains at £5. You can order copies on line by using our Contact Us page. The calendar will also be on sale at Topsham Stores and The Topsham Bookshop. There will also be the opportunity to buy a copy as you enter the Matthews Hall Market on a Saturday morning.