Topic Groups

Robert Brooke is the Chairman of the Steering Group

Robert had a 36 year career with PwC. He then became Chairman of Dunlop Slazenger Group. He was a Trustee of the Lord’s Taverners and Shakespeare’s Globe where he acted as Hon. Treasurer initially but latterly became Deputy Chairman. He experienced large scale project management and development stages at first hand as the Globe developed its site on Bankside from a hole in the ground to  its completion.

Within the group there are four Topic Group teams with their own team leaders who are listed in the Topic Group sections of this site.

The Steering Group is tasked with managing the process of creating and developing the Neighbourhood Plan. The four specific Topic Groups listed below have been established, each with its own team leader. The Topic Groups and the Steering Group will liaise closely as many issues affect more than just one group. Together they will focus on developing policy proposals for the future benefit of Dartmouth.

Briefing paper for Topic Group Leads, Dartmouth Neighbourhood
Development Plan (DNP) DRAFT Nov 2019

The requirement for communities to draw up Neighbourhood Development Plans was laid out in the 2011 Localism Act. This act enshrined in law a requirement that local communities should have a say in social, economic, land and environmental issues. Our DNP will give Dartmouth residents a valuable opportunity to influence change and take ownership of our community’s future; the Plan will carry legal weight. Valid for the next 15 -20 years, it will shape our future development towards the best interests of our residents.
This DNP sits within the combined 2014-2034 Joint Local Development Plan drawn up by the South Hams, West Devon and Plymouth City Councils (JLDP), and approved by the Government.
The creation of a Steering Group has been approved by Dartmouth Town Council with overall responsibility to organise and develop our plan. This group will consult widely across our community to ensure that the views of all sections are sought and that appropriate conclusions can be drawn and referenced.

Issues to be considered in drawing up our DNP necessarily cover a broad area. To better consider these issues, we have grouped them together into a number of key topics:

Our Economy to include: the Business of the whole town, Employment, Youth Employment & Education, Tourism, Businesses in the town, Productivity and Wealth of the town and land for employment use.

Infrastructure to include: Transport and Roads, Waste Disposal, River, Marine issues and Maritime involvement

Our Green Environment to include: Parks & Gardens, Natural green spaces, Recreation areas for all ages, for pleasure and for play, Sports & leisure facilities, Other Amenities, Allotments, Cemeteries & Churchyards

The Town Environment to include: Heritage, Planning, Street Scene, Signage, Shelters,Civic Buildings/Areas.

All Groups need to consider the needs over 10 – 15 years ahead for a changing age profile, home working opportunities and improved communications.
We recognise that there are a number of common themes that run through different topics, and also throughout the whole plan. These will become more defined as our work progresses. Good communication between each of the groups and the Steering Group will be key to producing a coherent and valuable document.
Each Topic Groups will have an appointed Chair, who will invite up to 9 members to assist in the process.

Working in Topic Groups

  • Each topic group is required to consider issues, problems and responsibilities within their topic. The purpose of this consideration is to help groups to formulate and recommend relevant policy proposals that will be considered by the Steering Group for inclusion in our DNP. These should specifically focus on policies related to the use and development of land and buildings and any associated planning issues.
  • Whilst members will draw on their own interests, concerns and expertise, they should be aware that any content in the plan has to be based on input from the community first and foremost. It should not become an exercise in individual ‘kite flying’ or advancement of personal viewpoints.
  • The Topic Groups will consider and obtain views on the interests and wider concerns of the public and will seek evidence to support their concerns. Evidence gathered by appropriate public and private organisations or individuals may already be available. There may also be relevant surveys or research data. Additional evidence might be obtained from public meetings organised by the Steering Group or by individual Topic Groups.
  • Topic Groups should review relevant existing evidence underpinning the Joint Local Plan 2016-2034, the SHDC Development Plan and the South Devon AONB Management Plan 2019-2024. Socio-economic data and technical reports, if available, may also be helpful. Some new evidence covering economic, social, environmental and infrastructural matters may be required.
  • Whilst consultation with the local community, its organisations and specific interest groups should be as wide as possible, we should be careful to avoid the hazard of excessive consultation. This can lead to paralysis and become a barrier to progress.
  • In considering each individual topic, there will be common themes that run across other groups and the whole plan, eg parking and transport. Liaison with other groups will be essential in developing these themes and obtaining overall cohesion.
  • In making proposals, please be mindful that they should be specific to an individual Topic Group rather than straying into another group’s remit.
  • Topic Groups are required to liaise with and report regularly to members of the Steering Group for information, enquiries and general communication.


Topic Group meetings will be both formal and informal. Formal meetings will be held in public with prior notice of the meetings publicised as widely as possible. The Topic Group may, as far as is practicable, invite public contribution to these discussions, either by spoken contribution or by written submission. The public will not be allowed to vote in any decisions made by meetings but can be assured that their views will be taken into account by the Topic Group. They should be reminded that any conclusions or recommendations reached are likely to be modified to fit into the Plan as a whole, which will be subject to consultation in draft and, in due course, to approval by the community by referendum.

Community Engagement

Topic Groups and the Steering Group will generate publicity for the public meetings and also ensure public awareness of their progress. Press releases will be coordinated through the Steering Group. We intend to draw in key partners and the business community as well as the wider community. This will ensure that the Plan reflects the views of the community