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From BBC News Devon: ‘Totnes Dairy Crest site could get ecological revamp’

April 17, 2012

Campaigners behind a plan for a business enterprise centre built to high ecological standards in Totnes want to buy a former dairy site.  The Dairy Crest processing site next to the railway station has been empty since it closed in 2007.

Atmos Totnes, with the support of patron and broadcaster Jonathan Dimbleby, wants to turn the site into residential and business accommodation.  Dairy Crest said it would consider “all serious proposals” for the site.

‘So much potential’

Rob Hopkins, of Atmos Totnes, said: “We imagine that site could be a place where new enterprises are cultivated, where renewable energy is generated, public events take place and where businesses can grow.  “There’s so much potential. That site is a gateway to Totnes and it is just falling to bits.”

The scheme would reflect the ethos of the Transition Town Totnes movement which aims to make the town more sustainable in energy use.

Atmos is holding a public meeting at Totnes Civic Hall at 18:30 BST to tell the community more about the campaign.

It intends to model the scheme on others such as the mixed use Sherwood Energy Village in a former Nottinghamshire mining town.  It intends to offer people shares in the site and is creating an industrial and provident society to run the site “for the benefit of the community”.

Mr Hopkins said: “Totnes has been swamped with new development, much of it from outside.  This is a site which the community could own and profit from and that’s really important for Totnes.”

Atmos Totnes is due to meet Dairy Crest on 4 May to discuss the plans.  Totnes MP Dr Sarah Wollaston, the campaign’s other patron, said: “I’d like to see this site as an inspiration, to say how we can design things differently.”

A Dairy Crest spokesman said: “Since the closure of the dairy, we have been working with various local agencies to achieve the best use of the site.  “We will consider all serious proposals but these have to be reasonable and acceptable to everyone who has an interest in our business.  This includes the Totnes community but other interested parties as well.”

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