It’s a great honour to be voted in as Chairman of Torbay Coastal Heritage Trust. From the Pavilion to Sladnor Park to Oldway Mansion, there are some pressing cases requiring both protection and upkeep, as well as viable action plans for the future.
The apolitical nature of the trust attracted me most to the role. I hope to learn a great deal from the other trustees, who are from a myriad of walks of life and of a kaleidoscope of political hues. Together we can do some real good in an area infamous for its bickering councillors and inept planning department. Torbay’s Heritage is Britain’s Heritage and there is no reason why it should fall to rack and ruin just because local apparatchiks don’t have one hundredth of the flair or imagination that the original architects, masons and park planners had when they conceived of these prodigious sites.
Dominic Wightman, Chairman of the Torbay Coastal Heritage Trust
I am not from the area. Others have remarked on this. But I see this as an advantage, as hopefully neither I nor the trust under my Chairmanship shall be bound to get mired in local shenanigans. Torbay is notorious for its circular firing squads. All I seek to achieve is to humbly conserve Torbay’s Heritage, and score some resounding wins, or I’ll walk away and find other routes.
From a personal point of view, I see the world through a conservative (small c) prism. Edmund Burke talked of conservatives having an ability to perceive truth, argue for justice and combine a disposition to preserve with an ability to improve. You cannot get much better than that definition of conservatism, although it allows progressives to ask, where’s your heart, conservatives? So, I like Sir Roger Scruton’s definition also…in 2017 in a podcast with my writer friend, Sir Roger described conservatives as people who love something actual and want to retain it.
Go and walk around the heritage sites of Torbay. There are hundreds of them. They are easy to love, and one should have no doubt – after visiting them – that they must be retained, nurtured and given repurpose.
Well, too many conservatives talk a lot. Few of these talkers get off their high horses and do any conserving. That is why I promise to give my utmost to the heritage sites of Torbay – give the role some real wellie – and to do this wonderful area proud. As the trust’s mission statement inures, we should all be “Celebrating and Protecting Torbay’s Heritage”.