Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall calls by to lend his support to the Atmos Totnes campaign
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, the TV chef best known for his high profile campaigns on food issues, will be in Totnes on Friday September 7th to give his support to the Atmos Totnes campaign and to be unveiled as a new Patron of the project. He joins Kevin McCloud, Jonathan Dimbleby, Tim Smit and Dr. Sarah Wollaston MP who are already Patrons of the project which is seeking to bring the former Dairy Crest site into community ownership to develop it as “the heart of a new economy”.The project is currently in what it hopes will be the final stages of negotiations with Dairy Crest over the site’s future, working towards an Exclusivity Agreement which will see the site withdrawn from sale and Atmos Totnes going for planning permission on the site. “We hope that Hugh’s support and visit to the town will prove to be the final push needed for Dairy Crest to take this community seriously as the owner and developer of the site”, Rob Hopkins of Atmos Totnes says. “Our campaign has mobilised many hundreds of people and has shown the depth of community support for the Atmos proposals. This is where the vision, passion and excitement over the site’s future resides. There is a palpable sense that we are nearly there”.
Hugh will be visiting the site at 10am on Friday 7th September for what the Atmos Totnes group are calling the ‘Big Photo Opportunity’. “It’s not every day you get to have your photo taken with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall”, says Dave Chapman, one of the founders of the Atmos project, “we are inviting people to come down and be part of it, bring their family, friends, children and neighbours, and to bring something that to them represents what they would like the future of that site to be. It could be a loaf of bread, a hoe, a low energy light bulb, whatever you like. Surprise us!”
Speaking recently, Hugh said “I am thrilled to become a Patron of Atmos Totnes. This community-driven initiative which combines employment generation, local food, community ownership and investment and a big and timely story, will set the tone for development in the future. There is much talk about localism, but Atmos shows what an inspired community can do when it takes its economic future into its own hands. It is such an important story, both locally and nationally”.
In March, writer and broadcaster Jonathan Dimbleby visited the Dairy Crest site for the first Big Photo, and over 350 people turned out one misty morning to be part of it, an event which launched the campaign. Since then, the Atmos Totnes campaign has held discussions with Dairy Crest, had a great deal of press coverage, held a very well-attended public meeting, collected over 80 ‘Atmos Voices’, interviews with local people talking about their hopes and dreams for the former Dairy Crest site, and talked to neighbours of the site to hear their thoughts on the site’s development.
Ed Vidler, Chair of the Totnes Development Trust, who, along with Transition Town Totnes are the key organisation behind Atmos Totnes, says “Atmos Totnes is a positive story about this town’s future. One of its slogans has been “Bring it back to life”, and getting hundreds of people down there for events such as this you really start to get a sense of how that site could be when it is full of people talking together and having fun. If you want a taste of what Atmos will feel like once it has been developed, join us on the 7th!”
The website for Atmos Totnes is atmostotnes.org, and it is on Twitter at @atmostotnes. On the website you will find the story so far, as well as a series of ‘Atmos interviews’ with local residents which can be downloaded and used in audio pieces.