Kingsbridge & District Agenda 21Kingsbridge & District Agenda 21

Current Projects


Carbon Reduction Action Plan for Kingsbridge

The Agenda 21 Group has formed a Carbon Reduction Working Group, including representation from Kingsbridge Town Council (John Binns), local planners and architects (Tom Sylger-Jones and Pater Sandover) and local farming (Mike Rogers).

The group has presented the rationale for Carbon Reduction at a meeting (26th October)with the Town Council, and held a public meeting in Coasters cafe on November 24th to brainstorm ideas.  The group is now developing a draft action plan, and will hold a series of focused events to develop sections of the plan during the new year.

The first of these will be held on 1st March at 7pm at Quay House, and will be used to explore the draft plan and establish a number of sub-groups to work on developing their chosen sections of the plan.  All are welcome.

If you are interested in taking part, please contact Bob Willars on 01548 857603 or via


Facilities for Young People (Youth Vision Project) has to wait

The Agenda 21 Group has formed a team which last year ran a regular Wednesday afternoon/early evening drop-in venue for young people.  Based in the Old Chapel building on Baptist Lane, the venue (called Chill-eeze) was open from 3.30 - 7.00pm, and was regularly used by up to 20 young people each Wednesday.  Last year, the initial 3 month trial of this building was extended to beyond Easter, due to its success and the funding made available to the group from the Police property Fund, SHDC and KingsbridgeTown Council.  This year we are having to wait to re-start as the Old Chapel is out of commission until mid-Novemebr - so if anyone knows of an alternative premises let us know.


The Agenda 21 Group identified meeting the needs of young people as a key sustainability issue for Kingsbridge and the surrounding area, particularly since statistics show that the South Hams has less than half the national average percentage of under 25 year olds in its population mix.

The area's ability to enthuse its young people about the South Hams, its local facilities and opportunities, we believe is crucial to the future sustainability of towns like Kingsbridge.  If we want them to be thriving community centres, not holiday home ghettos, then they need to retain their young people and encourage them back after their further education.

We researched the views and needs of young people in the area, and the facilities available for their leisure time, and produced a report entitled 'Youth Vision'.  Please contact us for a copy. 

A working group was formed to take one of the findings through into action - its first meeting was on 25th June at Quay House.  This was that young people would like some form of meeting place in Kingsbridge to spend time with friends.  The group were keen to involve the town's youth in deciding exactly what this would look like, and plan to set up focus groups and an even more extensive survey of young people's views before putting forward the group's ideas for development.

The working group incorporated a group of young people, who met to take a tour round a number of locations in town which might provide the environment that youngsters need in which to 'chill out' with their friends.  It was proposed that the old Baptist Church building in Phoenix Place would be trialled for a period of 2-3 months after Easter 2010.

If you are interested in taking part in this project, please contact Bob Willars via the contact page on this website, or by calling 01548 857603.


Low Carbon (electric vehicles) Project

Through the actions of the Agenda 21 group (and John Speed in particular), on 7th & 8th November 2009 Terry Osborne brought his Smarter Choices Roadshow to Kingsbridge, at which he demonstrated a range of electric bikes and scooters.  Smarter Choices is a not for profit advisory company which is supporting the development of electric vehicles, and so pleased was Terry at the response of the Kingsbridge community that he applied to the Low Carbon Challenge Fund on our behalf for funding for electric vehicles and their charging points for the town.

The application was made, but was unsuccessful in gaining funding, as was a further application made to Plymouth University for our inclusion in a smaller scale pilot.  We continue to be keen to explore the options for electric vehicles within Kingsbridge, perhaps starting on a small scale with a set of electric bikes for hire from the Information Centre.  An encouragement for residents to switch to scooters could possibly become a proposal within the Traffic Management Plan for Kingsbridge.


Agenda 21 will continue to retain a watching brief on Combe Royal

Although interest was shown by a local group, led by Claire Devonshire, to purchase the house and gardens for the benefit of the community, the County Council have accepted an offer from a private individual to sell Combe Royal for private use.  Despite asurances from DCC that the Action Group would be informed of any purchasers' details (so that an approach could be made re purchasing part of the grounds), no such information was made available.  We have contacted the buyer's agent, who has assured us that the buyer wants to use all the land for his own purposes, and will not countenance any arrangements for public access.   Nevertheless - Kingsbridge Agenda 21 will retain an interest in the property and how it is developed, in view of the loss of a potential community asset that this sale represented.


Situated on the outskirts of town, the county council-owned property stands in 10 acres of grounds with a horticultural history spanning nearly two centuries. The house itself was privately owned from its construction in the early 1800s until 1989, when it was taken over by Devon County Council’s Social Services.  Although DCC used the property for offices, the locally run Meadow Project were responsible for maintaining the grounds.   It is now feared that the community will lose out without the educational purposes of the land, as well as the support for disadvantaged people made available through the Meadow Project. 

The site was put on the market as part of DCC’s drive to ‘reduce unnecessary and costly offices’.  The Meadow Project, who run various activities for members of the public from the grounds, were told they would have to vacate the premises by Spring 2010, while allotment holders were given notice to remove themselves immediately. 

Following DCC’s announcement to sell up, the Friends of Combe Royal group sprang into action, with a proposal made by Dr Wendy Rees and her group for the use of the grounds as a park and nature reserve.  This was rejected by the County Council on the grounds that they did not want the ongoing maintenance responsibility, and that the proposal may damage the site’s marketability.

Since the Council turned down a proposal made by the Friends of Combe Royal project team and another subsequently by the local Agenda 21 group to turn the site into a park and nature reserve, this led to a public meeting being held, and the formation of the 'Action Group to keep Combe Royal for Kingsbridge'.  The group collected 600 letters of support from individuals, as well as expressions of support from a range of local groups - in total representing over 2000 residents.

These were presented to John Hart and Phil Norrey by Bob Willars and Rosemary Speed.  Unfortunately, we have now been informed that the site will be sold as a whole (to maximise the sale value) - but we have managed to get an assurance that any parties pursuing the purchase will be informed that we are interested in purchasing some of the land


The team then appealed to the Kingsbridge & District Agenda 21 group, who held a public meeting - resulting in the formation of the 'Action Group to keep Combe Royal for Kingsbridge'.  The group collected 600 letters of support from individuals, as well as expressions of support from a range of local groups - in total representing over 2000 residents.

These were presented to John Hart and Phil Norrey by Bob Willars and Rosemary Speed.  Unfortunately, we have now been informed that the site will be sold as a whole (to maximise the sale value) - but we have managed to get an assurance that any parties pursuing the purchase will be informed that we are interested in purchasing some of the land

Agenda 21 along with the Friends group feel that Combe Royal is a huge asset to the community - a potentially important natural amenity for the residents of the area.  With the support of Kingsbridge Town Council we appealed to the Corporate Asset Group, who are in charge of distributing the County Council’s assets, but received a further dismissive response. 

There had previously been a proposal to link the site with the town via a footpath, which would mean that school children among others would be able to access the grounds without having to use the main road. 


Pictorial Meadows Project - latest update

Just look at it now!!!





A group of primary schools are taking part in this exciting project:  Kingsbridge, Kingswear and Stokenham.  


As a reminder, funding is coming from the Plymouth & South West Co-operative Society’s Community Dividend Fund. The money will support the above schools during this season and then continue supporting them, with the addition of a further three schools, during 2011.


Each school gets £80 in its first year to spend on ‘set-up’ costs such as preparing the ground, purchasing gardening implements, producing information boards, etc.  In addition, each school will be given four different seed mixes, each to cover 5 square metres.

At Kingsbridge Community Primary School we’ve used our money to purchase wood, nails and soil to construct new raised beds near the school entrance.  We’ve chosen a hexagon-shaped design with a central area where pupils will be able to sit, totally surrounded by flowers in the summer.  The soil is now prepared, weed-free and ready for sowing next month.  Please can you let us know how your plots are coming along; photos would be great!                                                                                                 








New flower meadow plots at Kingsbridge Community Primary School



The seed mixes have been chosen to provide a good range of colours from May through to November.  This allows us a long period of time either side of summer holidays in which to incorporate the flowers in our studies:


We will aim to all sow the seeds towards the end of March, and then as the season unfolds each school can carry out similar activities (devised as we go along) such as:

  1. Maintaining a growing diary
  2. Monitoring insect activity – different types, effects of weather
  3. Studying different flower types – by structure (e.g. daisy-like, snapdragon-like, buttercup-like); by leaf type (e.g. ‘simple’ with smooth edge, squiggly-edged, little leaflets); by time of season (e.g. early, mid, late)
  4. Art and photographic displays
  5. Flower-inspired poetry sessions

 Best practice for preparing the plots and sowing


  • Raised flower beds have the advantage of better drainage and less far for the children to bend down!  Choose sunny locations.
  • Now is the time to dig over the plots and remove any grass and weeds.
  • Use a rake to create a fine tilth.
  • If you wish you can add fertiliser to the soil - this will increase the flowering intensity.
  • Mark the plots out in meter squares (using canes) prior to sowing.  Depending on seed mix, only 1g or 2g is needed per m2 which can be weighed out beforehand and mixed with sand to help with broadcasting.
  • After sowing gently rake over the plots and water regularly with a fine upturned rose.
  • A scarecrow could be used, and definitely some barrier around the plots to prevent little children wandering across!
  • Take lots of photos of all the activities throughout the season.



We have included some photos of the flowers which can be laminated and used for identification  purposes.  Also enclosed is a project idea about bees which we hope you’ll be able to do with the older children.


Our funding has also enabled us to purchase a bee box for each school.  The 'solitary' bee species that use these nests won't swarm and don't sting.


Further information about the seed mixes is at:










Many children today, even in rural areas such as the South Hams, have lost their connection with the soil, and with the very ecosystems which support life on our planet.  This was the view of a project group which has been established to seek in a small way to address this concern, and by doing so provide fun for children and involve them in the beauty of flowers.

The project involves working with a number of primary schools, involving children of all abilities and requiring them to work cooperatively together.  The idea is that schools participating in the first year will become mentors to those starting in the second year.  It is a true community project, as it is based upon parental participation, as well as teachers and



Wendy Rees has been particularly instrumental in contacting Dr Nigel Dunnett of the Department of Landscape, University of Sheffield who has created various seed mixes to provide 'low input, diverse and colourful landscapes' - which he calls 'pictorial meadow seed mixes'.  With the support of the Agenda 21 group, she has submitted a funding application to the Plymco Community Dividend Fund for seeds and equipment.  The fund has been heavily oversubscribed, so the project team were fortunate to receive half of the resources applied for.  The project will start with a smaller number of schools as a result, but through the mentoring process others will be able to join in.

For any further information, or to express an interest in the project, please contact Dr Wendy Rees (Project Manager) at


Kingsbridge in Bloom wins Gold and Cup for best small town

Members of the Agenda 21 group have actively involved in preparing for Kingsbridge’s 2011 entry into the SouthWest in Bloom competition – one of 18 regional and national competitions that make up Britain in Bloom – the biggest horticultural campaign in Europe.  Last year for the first time, Kingsbridge was awarded a Gold award in the main competition - this year we went one better, and won the cup for the best small town!.  The Community Garden again won an Outstanding Achievement award, and the Church Street garden and Britton's Field both won Developing awards in the community scheme competition.

The broad aims of the competition are that participating communities will  use the process ‘to improve and regenerate their local environments, through the imaginative planting of trees, shrubs, flowers and landscaping, conservation and recycling projects, and to sweep away the eyesores that blight our streets, such as litter, graffiti and vandalism’.

So, what’s this got to do with sustainability?

Well, alongside ‘horticultural excellence’ and ‘environmental friendliness’, two of the four core pillars of the award are ‘community involvement’ and ‘sustainability’.  Kingsbridge recognises that an attractive town will boost tourism, and improve on everyone’s feeling of well-being.  Without the right balance of tourism, Kingsbridge will not be viable in the long-term as a vibrant community centre and market town, and in that sense not sustainable.  Also, without the involvement of members of the community there will not be the buy-in from residents and businesses to improve the town’s attractiveness that will ensure that efforts are maintained, and again sustainable.

If you would like to find out more, or to be involved – please contact the Kingsbridge in Bloom project manager Graham Price at