Naval Dockyards Society

Exploring the civil branches of navies & their material culture


Turnchapel Graving Dock Victory!

We can report a victory to save an 1804 dry/graving dock near Plymouth from destruction.

As you may recall, Richard Holme was contacted by Turnchapel History Group in January 2020 about their research into the dock and Turnchapel’s shipbuilders going back to the seventeenth century.

In June 2020 we were asked for support concerning a planning application (19/01810/FUL) to build a large industrial unit over the old Graving Dock at Turnchapel Wharf. The development would have cut right through the granite lined dock, which has been filled in for many years. (See Letter to Plymouth CC 18 June 2020)

The result of the planning meeting on 18 June 2020 was a deferral to investigate an engineering solution to avoid the roof impacting on the conservation area. ‘Unfortunately, one suggestion was to dig down to keep the building roof height. That would have destroyed any archaeological remains of the graving dock. ‘So, we’ve won the first battle but not the war.’ (Turnchapel History Group)

‘Both our councillor and Conservation Area residents’ representative quoted your letter in their presentations, so your input was extremely helpful. We might need more help as they start to explore their options so will be in touch.’ (Turnchapel History Group)

At the deferred committee meeting 20 August 2020, to which we sent the second letter (see Letter to Plymouth CC 17 August 2020), the proposal was unanimously rejected by the councillors. Turnchapel History Group reports: ‘We expect YH [Yacht Haven Group] to appeal the decision, but we will cross that bridge when the time comes. In the meantime, many thanks again for your help and support.’

Ann Coats

24 August 2020