Totnes residents have been turning up in their hundreds to help the town put together a vision for the future development of the eight-acre Dairy Crest site.
Eventually the town will be asked to take part in a referendum vote on a masterplan for the former dairy site which has lain derelict for the last seven years.
Meanwhile, the site office building next to Totnes railway station, which has become host to Atmos Project’s major community consultation process aimed at producing a development blueprint for the site, has clocked up its 500th visitor.
The Totnes-based Encounters Arts, which is heading up the consultation process, has established a range of creative activities in each area of the building to capture visitors’ memories of the past and ideas for the future.
The initial phase of the consultation exercise, which has two more weekends to run, also includes opportunities to discuss the project with the architects and project team.
Ed Vidler, from the Totnes Community Development Society which is managing the development, said: “We are delighted to be seeing so many people who are interested and passionate about how the land is used”.
“People are being really creative with how they share what they know about the place already, as well as what they want to see here in the future”.
In August, an historic agreement was made with Dairy Crest to allow the community to buy a proportion of the site for one Totnes Pound through the Totnes Community Development Society.
Bournemouth-based developer McCarthy and Stone also has an agreement to buy a proportion of the land. The site as a whole is being masterplanned through the current consultation.
More detailed work and further consultation will follow in the new year on certain parts of the site in preparation for using a new route to planning consent, a Community Right to Build Order, which Totnes Community Development Society aims to submit in early summer. If successful, this will be the first of its kind in the UK.
Mike Shail, who has lived in Totnes since 1946 and once worked at the then-Unigate site, has been taking part in the consultation exercise. He said: “I think the Atmos Project has to be one of the finest things I’ve seen promoted for a long, long time, and will be a wonderful use of the space that’s down here.”
“This has been excellently presented,, with people who know how to present it, both on a one-to-one basis, and also on the displays. Easily understandable by anyone”.
The Atmos Totnes hub at Station Road, Station Yard, Totnes, is open Friday from 10am-7pm, and Satrudays from 11am to 4pm, until December 6. On the final weekend of this initial consultation phase there will be a series of special workshops to bring together some of the themes emerging from the consulation.
People can see more at www.atmostotnes.org.