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In 1911, the Bedford influence on the town came to an end after over 450 years, when the family sold most of their holdings in the area to meet death duties. The Bedford name can still be seen in many place names around the town. The Town Council is the owner of much former Bedford property from around this time, making it one of the richest parish councils in England. The council cannot raise capital or income from the landholding and most of its budget on managing the properties.
West Devon Borough Council is based in Tavistock, about 500 metres north of Bedford Square at Kilworthy Park. There is a small police station under part of the Bedford building complex on Bedford Square but the adjacent historic Magistrates Court has been closed and the nearest criminal court is now at Plymouth.
In 1933 the long-disused canal was put to use providing hydroelectric power for the area.
A war memorial in Bedford Square commemorates many, but not all, of the townsfolk killed in the First and Second World Wars. Many families across Britain exercised their right not to have their family members named on these public memorials. In 2006, this memorial is in process of being moved, to a site in the graveyard of the Parish Church.
Tavistock had two railway stations, both now closed. Tavistock South was the Great Western Railway's station, on the route between Launceston and Plymouth. This was closed and mostly dismantled between 1962 and 1965. The station was sited to the south of Bedford Square, just over the bridge and to the right now a council depot: no trace of the station remains. Tavistock North was the Plymouth, Devonport and South Western Junction Railway's station, operated by the London and South Western Railway, on the route between Lydford and Plymouth via Bere Alston. This opened on 2 June 1890 and closed on 6 May 1968. The main station building survives as railway-themed bed and breakfast accommodation while the extensive goods yard is now known as Kilworthy Park and houses the offices of West Devon Borough Council. The railway for around a mile south of Tavistock North station is open to the public as a footpath and nature reserve and it is possible to walk across the viaducts that overlook the town.
The trackbed of the Tavistock North route is almost intact to Bere Alston where it joins today's Tamar Valley Line. There has been discussion regarding the re-opening of a rail link for a number of years. Engineering assessment shows the rail-bed, bridges and tunnels to be in sound condition. In 2008 a housing developer offered to rebuild the railway to Bere Alston (from a new station slightly south of the town) if agreement for him to build 800 properties could be concluded. This has also encouraged speculation about restoring the Tavistock-Okehampton rail link, which could provide an alternative to the Devon coastal main line to link the South West Region with the rest of the country. As of 2010 there is a group investigating the possibility of re-instating the line between Tavistock and Bere Alston and a suggestion that Tavistock could be included in the Liberal Democrat rail expansion plans should they win the 2010 General Election.
In 1986, the town's two newspapers, the Tavistock Gazette (founded in 1857) and the Tavistock Times (established in 1920) merged to form the current weekly publication, the Tavistock Times Gazette, with a circulation of around 8,000. The newspaper is owned by Tindle Newspaper Group. The newspaper celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2007, with a visit from the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall.
In July 2006 Tavistock was named the eastern Gateway to the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site, which runs westward through the Tamar Valley and Great Consols Mine, down the spine of Cornwall to Lands End. This £75 million project is likely to bring more tourists to Tavistock. A £1.1million World Heritage Site Interpretation Centre, planned for 2007, to be built in the area of the Guildhall, and overlooking the River Tavy has not been achieved.
A local community group known as "Tavistock Forward", have been negotiating to take over the Guildhall complex with police force and English Heritage endorsement, with lease-back of the existing police station to Devon & Cornwall Police, while developing the Guildhall itself.
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