Atmos Totnes, the community campaign seeking to bring the former Dairy Crest site in Totnes into community ownership to develop it as “the heart of a new economy” for Totnes, is one step closer to becoming a reality after Atmos representatives met a team from Dairy Crest in the offices of Totnes MP Dr. Sarah Wollaston MP last week. The meeting, described by both parties as ‘constructive’, paved the way for Atmos Totnes to formally apply for an 18-month Exclusivity Agreement which would allow them to apply for planning permission on the site and to move the initiative forward.
“It was clear”, said Rob Hopkins of Atmos Totnes, “that the campaign we have been running in the town for the past two months has had an impact, and that the weight of this community’s voice has been heard. We are hugely grateful to everyone who has got behind it. Atmos will be a game-changer for Totnes in so many ways. Creating a good working relationship with Dairy Crest means we can start to change that site’s story from being one of dereliction and abandonment to one of innovation, vision and possibility. We’re thrilled”.
Following Friday’s meeting, the following statement was issued:
“Today teams from Dairy Crest and Atmos Totnes met in the offices of Dr. Sarah Wollaston MP in Totnes to discuss the proposals of the Atmos group for the development of the former Dairy Crest site in Totnes. It was a very constructive meeting which looked at all the options, and Atmos Totnes were invited to submit a proposal in the coming weeks which Dairy Crest will be treating very seriously”.
Dr Wollaston, who chaired the meeting, said “when it comes to localism, as government Minister Greg Clarke put it recently in the House of Commons, “What Totnes does today, the rest of the country will do tomorrow”. This national recognition may have helped to persuade executives from Dairy Crest that Transition Town Totnes has the determination and skill to lead the way when it comes to neighbourhood planning. The meeting on Friday was an important step in demonstrating that Atmos is the best way forward not only for our town but for Dairy Crest if it is genuinely seeking to leave a positive legacy in Totnes and develop a reputation for nurturing sustainability”.
The Atmos Totnes campaign had found high profile support from, among others, broadcaster Jonathan Dimbleby and former government minister John Gummer, who had recently stated “I think Dairy Crest ought to think very carefully and see how it can best progress what is, after all, the one opportunity which is there for this site”.
Dave Chapman, who has been involved in the Atmos initiative since its very first meeting in 2007 when the site’s closure was announced said “it was wonderful to feel this initiative take such a positive step forward and to finally be taken seriously. We can now start to show how the tools that localism gives communities can be used to create something that will put Totnes on the national map. Now the real work begins”.
For more information on Atmos Totnes see www.atmostotnes.org.
Image attached has the following caption; “Representatives of Dairy Crest and Atmos Totnes meeting to discuss the future of the Dairy Crest site (L-R) Duncan Good, Arthur Reeves, Dr. Sarah Wollaston MP, Ian Franklin, Rob Hopkins, Dave Chapman, Robin Miller.
Downloadable MP3 files of ‘Atmos Voices’ interviews can be downloaded from https://atmostotnes.org/
The story of the Atmos project, and of the Dairy Crest site since its closure, can be found at https://atmostotnes.org/the-
If you would like to do interviews about this proposal, please contact Rob Hopkins on 07868 604454 or Frances Northrop on 07706 466841
Transition Town Totnes: 43 Fore Street, Totnes, Devon. TQ9 5HN. www.transitiontowntotnes.org/