History 1975 to 2000
The trend begun with the opening of the Tamar Bridge in 1961 continued through the closing decades of the 20th century and into the 21st. Increasingly, people chose to work in Plymouth but live in Saltash, and new housing went up wherever there was space within and around the town.
The 70s and 80s saw many changes in the town's amenities. In 1977 Bishop Cornish School opened at Wearde. In 1978 a Citizen's Advice Bureau opened in Lower Fore Street, later moving to the present premises in Belle Vue Road. One of Saltash's most prominent landmarks, the water reservoir at Longstone, better known as 'the green tank', was demolished in 1979. Cornwall College Saltash opened in 1984, serving students from South-West Devon and North Cornwall as well as South-East Cornwall. In 1985 St Stephens School moved into the old Grammar School building in Long Park Road. The Baptist Church was destroyed by fire in 1987, the present building emerging from the ashes a couple of years later, and Saltash Wesley Church was demolished in 1988 and rebuilt on the adjacent site where Well Park House had been. Princess Diana, at that time both Princess of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall, visited Saltash in 1989 and officially opened the Saltash Handicapped and Disabled Organisation's SHADO Centre in Plougastel Drive.
The 1980s also saw the construction of the A38 Saltash By-pass, which involved digging a quarter-mile of tunnel underneath several residential streets to link the Tamar Bridge with the new dual-carriageway road to the north of the town. The excavation for the tunnel approach necessitated the demolition of the old North Road School building, which had already been badly damaged by fire, and the 18th century Mansion House, home to the Saltash Working Men's Club. (A new clubhouse was built just yards from the old location, and the Club managed to remain open throughout.) The tunnel took two years to complete, and the by-pass was opened to traffic in 1988.
Saltash continued to change throughout the last decade of the century. The Kenwanne Centre was lost to the youth of Saltash with the demolition of Well Park House, but the K2 Youth Centre (now again re-branded as the K3 Young People's Centre) opened in 1990 on the campus of Saltash College. The China Fleet Club, founded in Hong Kong in 1901, reopened at North Pill in 1991 as the China Fleet Country Club. The Ashtorre Rock Community Centre opened in 1991. St Anne's Old People's Home was closed in 1992 and replaced by the purpose-built St Anne's Residential Home in Plougastel Drive. Saltash Leisure Centre was built on Warfelton field and opened in 1996, providing the town with its first enclosed public swimming pool.
With most of the old characteristic buildings destroyed during the war or falling victim to 1960s development planners, the retail hub of the town had become rather drab and unattractive, so during the 1990s Fore Street and its immediate environs was given a 'face-lift'. Along the newly-widened pavements seating was installed, trees and flowers were planted, and a series of artworks was commissioned to brighten up bare walls. The Saltash Townbright Mosaic was created by members of the Ashtorre Rock Community Centre and children of the Saltash primary schools (Bishop Cornish, Brunel, Burraton and St Stephens) working with local artist Emma Spring. Two groups of mosaic panels were installed along the walls of the bridge that goes over the eastern approach to the A38 Saltash Tunnel, a single larger mosaic in Fore Street on the wall of the old post office building, and another in the passageway between the Co-op building on Fore Street and the Culver Way car park at the rear. The Saltash Townbright Bronze Plaques, a series of moulded pictures depicting characters and places from local history, were created in 1998-99 by members of the Ashtorre Rock Community Centre working with artists Emma Spring and Noah Taylor to bring interest to the passageway between Alexandra Square and Fore Street.
The next project to be undertaken was the regeneration of the Waterside area, and a beginning was made with the creation of a large and colourful work of art, which adorns the side of the Union Inn at Waterside. The 'History and Heritage' public art mural, completed by local artist David Whittley in 1999, depicts characters and events from the town's 800 years of history.
page updated 2016-06-07