TRANSITION TOWN TOTNES (TTT) is set to launch a campaign to bring the former Dairy Crest site, next to the town’s rail station, into community ownership with an ambitious plan to create a scheme for new businesses, the arts and affordable housing. The Totnes-based community group is embarking on a six month campaign, launching on March 21st, called Atmos Totnes: the heart of a new economy. The name derives from the site’s history as home to Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s experimental atmospheric railway.
Frustrated by Dairy Crest’s reluctance to engage seriously with the community on the site’s future, the Atmos group, a project of TTT and the Totnes Development Trust, are launching a focused push to demonstrate the depth of community support for the idea. Their campaign has four key asks:
- That the now-listed historic Brunel building and the land behind it are gifted to the community of Totnes
- That the community of Totnes prepares a planning application for the site, rather than Dairy Crest or a developer
- That if that application is successful, Dairy Crest agree to a model whereby they get a ‘clawback’ on each phase of any development, rather than requiring purchase of the site up front.
- That Dairy Crest makes the Brunel building sufficiently safe that a series of public events can be held in it by the end of the campaign.
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