Welcome to Westward Ho! Park
Westward Ho! Park is a green space which sits at the heart of Westward Ho! at the junction of Avon Lane and Golf Links Road. The park hosts tennis courts, crazy golf and play equipment. There really is something for everyone. The park is used by all walks of life, from those taking the dog for their evening stroll to families enjoying the slides and swings. The park is also home to many planting beds and shrubberies which are very kindly maintained by volunteers. There is even a hotel for the insects to come and enjoy a holiday in Westward Ho!
The Park is currently owned by Torridge District Council but will be handed over to Northam by way of a Community Asset Transfer. This process is currently ongoing and can take some time, but updates will be published as they become available.
This move comes after news broke from Torridge in 2015 that there were plans to use most the land for a development of houses. Since the news was received, the Council have worked extremely hard to stop this from happening. Below is a timeline of events. Use the arrows to scroll through the years or swipe if viewing on a mobile device.
Under re-organisation, the Urban District Council is wound up. It is at this point that Northam Town Council, Torridge District Council and Devon County Council are formed. Under legislation, assets of the Urban District are passed to the new District Council. Including, Westward Ho! Park.
After hearing news that Torridge District Council were planning to put forward a proposal to build on the Park, it became somewhat of a standing item on the Town Council’s meeting agendas. In March 2016, the Council successfully registered the Park on the ‘List of Assets of Community Value’. This meant that if the District Council wanted to sell the land, they would have to inform the Town Council and give appropriate time for them to make an offer and raise funds. In late September 2015, a local steering group was formed. Also at this time, a public group set up the Westward Ho! Park page on Facebook which currently has 433 members. At the 2016 Annual Electors meeting, a significant number of parishioners attended and spoke in reference to the Park. Lead by the late Mike Durkin, a vote was passed to hold a Parish Poll “I am proposing that the following question be put to the Electorate” “That the Park in Westward Ho! (where the tennis courts, children’s play area and the Happy Cafe are located) should be maintained for recreation, leisure and amenity use only.” There were 30 votes in favour of his motion.
Although this Poll didn’t take place, the Park would become a passion for Mike and later prompted him to become a Councillor.
In 2018, Northam Town Council hold a public consultation with surveys being delivered to the whole Council area. There was a 12.5% return rate with 95% showing dissatisfaction with the TDC plans and 95% of respondents wanting to see the Park handed over to Northam Town Council. This year also saw the Park featured in The Mail on Sunday (see image). In 2018 the population of Westward Ho! was 2,266. There was also a petition presented to TDC with over 4,000 signatures from accross the Northam Town Council Area. So there is clearly huge public support.
The 2019 Local Council elections saw a number of long standing Councillors either not stand for Election or lose their seats both at Torridge and the Town Council. Torridge District Council now has a majority of independent Councillors who overturned the decision to build on the park. They also voted in favour of the park being handed over to the Town Council. A business plan has been prepared by the Town Council and submitted to the District Council.
The Town Council reach an agreement with Torridge to purchase the Park and seek borrowing approval from the Public Works Loan Board. This money will not only cover the purchase of the Park but also much needed renovation works too.