A new interactive resource for Brixham

A new interactive resource for Brixham

Brixham Arts & Theatre Society continue their role as arts mentors and creative supporters in Brixham and the surrounding area with the commissioning of a new brixhamwalks.org website. Brixhamwalks.org works on phones and computers alike, is easy to use and easy to share. Acting as a guide, it leads you through various different routes, through locations, providing relevant details and historical facts concerning these locations. Providing a simple to follow and use map it uses your current location and automatically displays the information for the location in formats suitable for disability access requirements.

BATS Director, Cecilia Kean, explains, “There have been several efforts made by different groups in the town to portray the heritage of Brixham in various formats, such as The Pirate’s Trail, with points around the town that can be clicked on by smart phones to tell stories, the heritage aspects of the town with the BrixFest walk map and app and information boards around the harbour telling the stories of the trawler development, the fishing fleet and various buildings. Sadly they have all now vanished as people have moved away or groups ceased.

After being introduced to Dave Barter of Nautoguide, we discovered it was possible to make an interactive map where the participant can move around the town and images, stories, songs and bits of video pop up. Different themes  and a selection of walks can also be selected. 

We decided to focus on an initial design exploring The Steps of Brixham. The town is pretty unique with the variety and number of flights of steps, some private and others still in use, and a variety of scales of difficulty to walk up and down them. Their history is fascinating. After much collating together of photographs and stories of the steps at various points in their history and the people who lived and worked on them, the Steps of Brixham walks were created.

The second series of walks added is The Murals and Street Art of Brixham. Wallls around Brixham used to be very monochrome in days gone by, fading whitewash and rarely painted. Nowadays they show a rainbow of colours, with murals dotted around the harbour.  Since 2008 walls across the town have sprouted wings, warships and Winston churchill , as well as mountaineers and the seductive kiss of a mermaid. 

It is planned to add other layers and walks to the website, such as the the Architecture & Buildings, Brixham’s Art & Artists, The Gardens of Brixham, Brixham Nature Walks, Pirates and Smugglers, Ghosts of Brixham, The Military History of Brixham and Brixham’s Historic Railway, working with other groups to add their information too… the heritage of the fishing industry, Shoalstone Pool, the archaeology…the list could be endless.

This is now a real resource for Brixham that is interactive so anyone can log on and use it, whether a local wanting to research their family or house history or a visitor seeking a fitness walk around the town (and you can certainly keep fit on some of the steps!). There is also provision for people to send us their memories and pictures so it can become a long lasting memory board for the town.

Thousands sign up to protect Breakwater Beach

Thousands sign up to protect Breakwater Beach

A petition calling for Brixham’s Breakwater Beach to be protected from over-development has been submitted in the House of Commons. It’s feared ambitious plans for a £25million mixed-use scheme for the area would blight the beauty spot.

More than 2,000 people signed it in response to plans put forward last year for a £25 million complex beside the beach, including a 44-bed hotel, spa and bistro.

Would-be developer Jack Turton recently said he would go back to the drawing board after his original proposals prompted a storm of protest. Locals claim the hotel would ruin the Blue Flag beach.

They claimed its bulk would completely overshadow the beach. Mr Turton, who owns Breakwater Bistro, said the majority of local people opposed his plans, meaning they would now go back for a complete re-design.

He said the proposal would bring jobs and visitors to Brixham, and the next designs would reflect the public consultation and would continue to provide toilets and changing rooms.

Another consultation will be held later in the year. The petition, handed in by Totnes MP Anthony Mangnall, whose constituency includes Brixham, called for town and village green status to be awarded to Breakwater Beach.

That would mean protecting the beach from development. And, said Mr Mangnall, it would “ensure that an important part of South Devon ’s coastline can be protected for future generations.”

The petition, organised by local campaigners Robin and Rebecca Hooker, says residents are concerned about the proposed development and note that while no formal plans have been submitted to Torbay Council, the early drawings had not been welcomed.

It goes on: “Breakwater Beach should be protected due to the beauty and nature of the surrounding coastal area.”

A town or village green is legally designated as an area of open space which has been used by the public for sports, pastimes and recreation. If it is successfully registered, the land must remain open and cannot be built upon. The status was recognised in the Commons Act 2006.

Original story on DevonLive

Levelling Up – Harbour and Fish Market to be extended

Levelling Up – Harbour and Fish Market to be extended

At the end of November, it was confirmed that Torbay had secured £20million in Levelling Up funding from the government.

The latest investment pot from Westminster will finance a Brixham Fish Quay Expansion and a new Electronics and Photonics Park in Paignton after the Town Hall’s so-called ‘Brixham Fish and Hi Tech Chips’ funding bid was finally given the green light.

This £20 million investment, supported by an additional £4.79 million from the Town Hall, will provide £16 million for a new fish quay and will double the size of the current auction hall – unlocking the next generation of growth for the local fishing industry. 

£8 million will be provided to build a new Electronics and Photonics Production Park with new specialist production facilities. This will strengthen EPIC’s record of innovation and attract new inward investment.

Torbay Council says the funding will accelerate economic growth locally and provide more employment opportunities in the key local sectors of fishing and electronics and photonics.

Council leader David Thomas, said: “We are delighted to hear this news from Government today that has once again identified Torbay to receive more Levelling Up funding. This brings the amount of funding from the various pots secured for the Bay to over £100 million.

The fishing proposal sets out how land will be reclaimed to extend the harbour and fish market in Brixham. This project will include the delivery of an extra 7,000m² of quayside, creating additional landing space. This will enable up to an extra five fishing vessels to off-load simultaneously. It also includes the construction of two new auction halls, doubling the current capacity.

These investments could lead to an increase in landed fish value of up to £20 million per year within five years – creating a forecasted 150 additional year-round jobs and more than £11 million, adding value per year in fishing and linked activities. 

Brixham MP Anthony Mangnall has welcomed the news. ‘Today’s announcement from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities comes after the council’s applications for the first two rounds were unsuccessful. Minister for Levelling Up, Jacob Young MP, shared the news that the ‘Brixham Fish and Hi Tech Chips’ project is one of the bids which has now been assessed by the department as being high-quality and ready-to-deliver.

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Open Meeting & AGM

Open Meeting & AGM

Tuesday 27th February, 7-9pm, Berry Head Hotel

Join us for our latest open meeting, which will also include our AGM. On the agenda this month:

  1. During 2023, our centenary year, we distributed £15,000 to local organisations to invest in projects the categories of commerce, community and development. We will be hearing from some of the recipients of these awards about the way the money has been spent and the difference it is making for local people.
  2. Brixham Park and Ride has now been taken over by the operators of adjacent Cayman Golf and Battlefield Live. Dan Leins will be speak to us about the plans they have to improve the site and increase its usage, which should have a positive impact on the parking situation in our town.
  3. Brixham Breakwater Development. The talk of the town over recent months! We will be updating members on our understanding of the latest plans for the site, including the petition to make the beach into a Village Green. NB. Once firm plans are in place we will (once again) invite the developers to address members and residents at a future our open meeting. 
  4. AGM: our annual general meeting, where we report on the last 12 months of the Chamber. This is also an opportunity for members to join the exec committee. If you are interested in putting yourself forwards please contact chair@brixhamchamber.co.uk in advance of the meeting.

Our open meetings are open to everyone (although only paid-up members may vote at the AGM). You might be a member, or a non-member business, or a local resident interested in the topics under discussion. If you plan to come, it is helpful to let us know in advance, at hospitality@brixhamchamber.co.uk. We look forward to seeing you!

Huge congratulations to Aaron and Emily (and Alfie)

Huge congratulations to Aaron and Emily (and Alfie)

Recent joyous annnouncement from our Treasurer Aaron Dowling:

“A special time for our family; born on the cold morning of January 11th, we’d like to introduce our son, Dashiell William Dowling 8lbs, 14oz of squishy cheeks, thigh rolls, and teeny little fingers. Alfie is loving being a big brother and all of our hearts are so full of love”.

Huge congratulations to Aaron and Emily (and Alfie)