Cllr Stephen Smith, chairman, Townstal Community Partnership, writes:

This is my letter to Jeremy Hunt, who I first knew when his father, Capt Nicolas Hunt, was captain of Britannia Royal Naval College in 1979-80, and who went onto become Commander in Chief Fleet Admiral Hunt. Sadly, he is no longer with us.

‘Dear Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt,

The South Devon Clinical Commissioning Group is ­making proposals to close hospitals in Brixham, Paignton and Dartmouth.

You know from your time here in Dartmouth, when your father served as captain of BRNC in 1979-80, how remote Dartmouth can be, and it is even more so now. Unlike Brixham and Paignton, which have a regular transport bus route, regrettably Dartmouth does not and out of season it is practically non-existent.

Dartmouth is perceived by outsiders as a millionaires’ yachting playground, but this is far from the truth. The year-round population is a mixture of the elderly, infirm and a working population on low incomes and benefits. Our social housing estate is the largest in the South Hams and is considered a deprived area, and after a planning appeal Dartmouth will grow by another 200 homes.

Our medical practice is now considered unfit for purpose – too small and its split level is not good if you are infirm.

In June 2015 the South Devon CCG closed the local minor injuries unit as the incumbent had decided to take retirement. This decision could not have been made overnight as there is always a notice period and the CCG was slow to react, so it closed it with the promise that it would be covered for the regatta, then it would engage trained, specialised MIU staff in November 2015. Now they tell us in April 2016 it will not reopen at all and that Dartmouth Hospital, after public consultation, will be on the closure list.

Specific key points why this community will not accept ­closure of Dartmouth Hospital:

1. Remote location.

2. Transport links are weak and expensive to users on low incomes.

3. A high level of the population is elderly.

There is also the need to take into consideration local people for whom Dartmouth has been their life. Ending their days outside our wonderful town in a strange environment is immoral and is a slap in the face of the duty of care to the community.’