The story of the Atmos Project is a fascinating one. As you browse around this new website you may miss the bit about The Story So Far. In many ways it is the most fascinating part (for me anyway). It is a great testament to the patience of those who have got this project where it is today, 5 years after the first meetings over kitchen tables in the town. Perhaps in a later blog we might have a go at telling the story from this point forward, but for now, here is the story of Atmos from the decision to close Dairy Crest to the present day…
June 2007: The Dairy Crest site closes with the loss of 163 jobs.
July 2007: Dave Chapman and Nigel Topping, interested in the idea of bringing the Dairy Crest site into community ownership and creating a sustainable business park, meet with South Hams District Council’s Head of Property Services, and leave the meeting determined that getting the development Totnes needs for the site will require bringing the site into community ownership, not just trying to influence from a distance what happens there.
August 2007: The ‘Sustainable Business Park Group’ (SBPG) group starts meeting.
September 2007: Concerned that Dairy Crest intend to demolish the Brunel Building, Totnes Town Council leads a bid to English Heritage to have the building listed.
November 2007: English Heritage announced its decision to refuse to list the building, on the grounds that “… despite having historical interest through its association with the unfinished and unsuccessful South Devon Atmospheric Railway, the building has experienced considerable alteration since it was first erected [and this] has compromised the integrity of the building and thus much of its context as an industrial building”.