Pioneer group to spearhead World Heritage centre plan

Thursday 6th August 2015 9:53 am
l The Mayor of Tavistock, Cllr Sue Bailey, is pictured with John Taylor, chairman of Tavistock Townscape Heritage Initiative, Katharine West, its project manager and local historian Alex Mettler outside the guildhall, which is set to play a key role in a plan to create a gateway centre to the Cornwall and West Devon World Heritage Site. Picture by James Bird ()

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A DYNAMIC new organisation has been established to champion Tavistock’s heritage and drive forward exciting plans to transform the town into a gateway to the Cornwall and West Devon World Heritage Site.

Two partnership groups — Tavistock Townscape Heritage and the World Heritage Site (WHS) Key Centre Working Group — have joined forces to co-ordinate work on initiatives to bring some of the oldest buildings in Tavistock back into public use and put the town firmly on the tourism map as a centre of culture.

Tavistock Heritage is made up of public, private and voluntary sector organisations and the new body is calling on other community groups and individuals to join them in putting together a raft of exciting projects for the town.

John Taylor, chairman of Tavistock Townscape Heritage, said: ‘Tavistock Heritage is all about how much we can achieve for the benefit of the whole community and this is a great opportunity for people to get involved and tell us what they would like to see for this great town of ours.’

Already the new organisation has a wide range of partners, including the Tavistock Area Learning Community, the town’s Chamber of Commerce, Tavistock Business Association, History Society, the town’s museum as well as town, borough and county councils.

Mr Taylor said the skills from each of the two partnerships would strengthen the work that is currently being carried out in Tavistock and would give them more influence when applying for national funding from organisations such as the Heritage Lottery Fund. (HLF)

Deborah Boden, co-ordinator for the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape World Heritage organisation, welcomed the formation of the new organisation.

She said: ‘Tavistock is perfectly located at the eastern gateway to the whole of the World Heritage Site and the Tavistock Heritage organisation is committed to developing this unique position to bring further benefits to the town.’

Julian German, chairman of the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape World Heritage Site partnership board, added: ‘The partnership is a keen supporter of proposals for a centre for the town, which would attract tourists from across the globe.’

Cllr Sue Bailey, Mahyor of Tavistock, said: ‘The council welcomes the formation of Tavistock Heritage to bring together the many groups and interests who have the heritage, history and culture of our town at their heart.’

Proposals are moving forward to house the new heritage centre within the Grade II* Listed Tavistock Guildhall in £1.2-million plans to bring the historic buildings — the former Magistrates Court, Police Station and Trowte’s House — back into public use.

In June, the project won initial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund and was awarded a grant of almost £50,000 to develop the proposals further.

As well as the heritage centre, other ideas for the guildhall buildings, which are owned by Tavistock Town Council, include a learning space for schools and groups, a hub for a wide range of activities around local tourism and the heritage of Tavistock and a one-stop shop for public sector organisations.

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