By the end of the recent Phase One of consultation on Atmos Totnes we had spoken to and heard the views of 2,500 local people on what should happen on the former Dairy Crest site.  Although you might imagine that we would have received such a diverse hotchpotch of ideas that it would be impossible to find any kind of consensus, actually the common thinking came through strongly.  At the last round of consultation, those principles were put up for feedback, and, with a few changes, agreed upon.


So as the Totnes Community Development Society team get underway with the design work, making this project a reality on the ground, we thought it would be good to post here the principles underpinning their work.

Key Issues

  • Sense of arrival
  • High density mixed development – live, work and relax
  • Opportunities for Learning woven into all aspects of live, work and relax on the site
  • Ownership and management is through community enterprise
  • Its financially viable
  • Development is Carbon Neutral both build and end use
  • The project compliments and improves the prosperity of other organisations
  • Its establishes meaningful connections with the historic town

Live (Housing)

  • New models of housing: owner occupier, community housing, tied
  • Housing for all ages
  • Housing at costs people can afford
  • No second home owners
  • Opportunities for shared facilities
  • Different sizes, styles and heights
  • Integrated with natural space
  • Creating distinct communities
  • Self-build
  • Inside/outside space
  • Sustainable and low energy/natural materials
  • Innovative
  • Old/new
  • Integrated between age groups
  • Roof gardens, Walkways



  • Co-creation community workspace
  • Learning and skills share
  • Contribute to economic relocalisation – local jobs, money recirculating etc.
  • Small scale work space/work hubs/cottage industries
  • Help to reduce dependency upon a few large external employers
  • Businesses to work together – share facilities etc.
  • Food and drink: producing, preparing and selling
  • Accommodation for visitors
  • Performance space
  • Space for therapeutic and creative activities
  • Small scale providers working collaboratively
  • Education/training
  • Young people focus
  • Different scales of buildings
  • Old and new


  • Performance space
  • Space to eat and drink
  • Events space
  • Flexibility with use
  • Art and celebration
  • Health activity
  • Play space
  • Social Activity
  • Short term visitor accommodation
  • Food – markets./production/ prep
  • Different scales of buildings
  • Wow factor and functional
  • Old and new
  • Indoor/outdoor
  • Mixed uses

Open Spaces

  • Space for all ages – mixed ages
  • Flexible, multi use
  • Natural
  • Connections to water
  • Functional and fun
  • Eating and Drinking
  • Art and celebration integration
  • Food Growing, preparing, sharing
  • Biodiversity
  • River and connections to the river past
  • Swimming
  • Wildlife and recreation
  • The leat
  • Trees and nature
  • Walking
  • Swimming
  • Cycling
  • Family (picnics and celebrations)
  • Healing and restorative power of the river and nature
  • Health activity
  • Peace

Public Art

  • Temporary, changing, collaborative
  • Urban, cutting edge, community
  • The whole site as an artistic creative space
  • Events/seasonal /festival
  • Using nature as part of art
  • Social connections throughout the year
  • Celebrating the heritage of the site
  • Integration throughout scheme
  • Transforming the ordinary to make extraordinary
  • Invites participation


  • Inter-generational connections
  • All and learning
  • Inclusion
  • Physical connections: transport, river, town
  • Connections to the past uses: food, nature and recreation
  • Diverse Connections and routes across the site  – heights/ type

The Countryside connections

  • Social connections
  • Mixing and culture 


  • Sustainable and natural: cob, lime, green roofs, straw, sheep wool etc
  • Re-use and recycle
  • Timber and glass
  • Renewables: PV, solar thermal, district heating system