Dartington Estate Framework

What is the Estate Framework?

Linking closely with the new strategic vision and financial plan for the Trust, the Dartington Estate Framework is a high level spatial plan and a set of clear design and development principles to support all future decision-making about the future use of land and buildings on the estate.


How does the Estate Framework fit in with the Trust’s financial plan? Will it mean new buildings on the estate? How can I get involved?

Find out all this and more here

Latest news

All News >

Our response to the Plymouth and South West Devon Joint Local Plan

In March 2017 year a final draft of the Plymouth and South West Devon Joint Local Plan was published for consultation. Building on information submitted last summer during the last round of consultation, the Trust submitted a further set of responses focusing on those policies and site allocations within the Plan that we support, those to which we object and identifying where we feel there are gaps. Read More >>

Dartington index logo

Statement from The Dartington Hall Trust in response to SHDC's Joint Local Plan development site proposals

The Dartington Hall Trust’s Chief Executive, Rhodri Samuel, has expressed serious concern about development proposals announced by South Hams District Council (SHDC). Read More >>

The Estate Framework’s five guiding principles

aerial of core estate, taken from Lower Drive

We’re extremely grateful to all those involved in developing our Estate Framework with us. Together we have agreed that the principles below must guide all future decision-making on physical changes to the Dartington estate

  1. Create places for exchange
  2. Build an integrated community that offers a ‘many-sided’ approach to livelihood
  3. Work with nature
  4. Joy of the new and reverence for the old
  5. Be a place of experimentation

Following nine months of work with PAG, Dartington Parish Council, Dartington Neighbourhood Plan and a range of innovative practitioners, we’re pleased to say that we’ll shortly be publishing the Dartington Estate Framework Summary, together with a programme of work for the next 12 months arising from it. We will make these available on this page soon.

We also hope to share with you shortly a study on this process by students working with Simon Bradbury on Schumacher College’s MA Ecological Design course.

What has happened so far?

The Future Homes Conference held in February 2015 was significant in marking Dartington’s new approach to working with others by exploring areas of common interest such as affordable, sustainable and innovative homes that make sense financially, protect the environment and support the revitalisation of rural communities.

Simon Bradbury's 'visioning’ event held with the Place-making Advisory Group
PAG Visioning workshop ( 16th October)

Reflecting Dartington’s commitment to work more collaboratively with others, The Dartington Hall Trust and Community Place-Making Advisory Group (PAG) was set up and held its first meeting in July 2015.

PAG is made up of Dartington Trustees, staff, and representatives of a number of local groups including Transition Town Totnes, Dartington Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group, Dartington Collaborative Network, Dartington Parish Council and Don’t Bury Dartington Under Concrete as well as a number of key advisers with expertise in planning, architecture and design.

In September 2015, Simon Bradbury of Studio Partington was asked to lead the development of the Estate Framework.

Consultation and information-gathering

Since September 2015, with the support of a project team including Dartington’s CEO, Rhodri Samuel, Simon has led an extensive phase of information-gathering including initial consultation. This has included a ‘visioning’ event held with PAG in early October 2015, comments and feedback from which will help shape the Estate Framework.

In November 2015 – January 2016 we held four Open Space events, with over 500 people attending. Comments and feedback from the Open Space events will help shape the Estate Framework as well informing Dartington’s broader future plans. You can view much of this feedback in the ‘News Rooms’ created for each event:

News Room – 20 Nov event News Room – 26 Nov event News Room – 5 Dec event News Room – 14 Jan event

Other information gathered so far has drawn on Dartington’s own extensive archive including:

  • Maps and site surveys
  • Past estate-based consultation
  • Neighbourhood Plan information and data
  • Land Use, landscape and ecology reports and plans
  • Roads and public rights of way
  • Historic landscape assessments
  • Recreational facilities
  • Listed buildings and monuments
  • Employment uses
  • Planning status
  • Bus routes, cycle ways and parking
  • Utilities (eg energy, water and waste collection)
  • Current events and activities and departmental plans
  • Market data (eg land ownership, housing mix & tenure, tourism, retail, economic impact)

In February 2016, CEO Rhodri Samuel presented the Trust’s latest thinking at a visioning event.

If you would like to comment on any aspect of this page, please contact us at: estate.framework@dartington.org

The Plymouth and South West Devon Joint Local Plan

As part of the Estate Framework, the Trust has submitted some of its land (near existing estate buildings and in the village) as ‘study areas’ to the local authority planning process in order to expand the community living and working on the estate.

Local authorities (LAs) have to follow national guidelines that require them to apply three tests to submitted land: it has to be available, suitable and deliverable. Their job is to appraise and pick the land that best meets these three tests and the aim of achieving sustainable development. South Hams, West Devon and Plymouth City Councils are working together on drawing up a Joint Local Plan. They are obliged by central government to have a demonstrable supply of land for house building for the next five years and beyond.

To enable the expanded community we envisage to be a reality, we’ve submitted our collective first and second choice of location to the local authorities’ planning process. We would ideally have liked to submit such study areas after publication of the report, but this was not possible due to the local authorities’ schedules. You can find out more about this schedule here.

We will post updates about our involvement with this process and you can find the most recent of these in the ‘Latest News’ box at the top of this page.