crtboThose of you who have contributed to the design work happening around the Dairy Crest site have been working towards the submission of plans for a Community Right to Build Order for Atmos Totnes. Here is short summary of this relatively new but important community-led planning process.

What is ‘Community Right to Build’?

The Community Right to Build allows communities to decide for themselves whether they would like to develop new homes, shops, or businesses in their area.

How does a Community Right to Build Order work?

The first step towards utilising the Community Right to Build is to establish what people want to see in the area and establish a support base for any specific proposals. This is the process that residents, enterprises and organisations in Totnes have been involved in since legal agreements were made around the site last August.


In order to use the Community Right to Build, you must have a properly constituted community organisation. Totnes Community Development Society (TCDS) is registered with the Financial Conduct Authority as an Industrial and Provident Society for the benefit of the community and as such meet this requirement and is submitting the Community Right to Build Order on behalf of Totnes.

Community Right to Build schemes must be within a defined neighbourhood area which has to be agreed with the Local Planning Authority. Totnes Town Council have a designation for the area in which the Dairy Crest site sits.

TCDS is currently working on the submission based on the information being gathered with the community and the design team for the project. This work looks at both the design and financial feasibility of the scheme that community wants built.

Before making an application to the Local Planning Authority for approval of a Community Right to Build Order, the community organisation must also carry out certain formal publicity and consultation to ensure everyone in the community and certain specialist bodies have the chance to comment on the proposals. This formal consultation is likely to begin later this year for Atmos Totnes.

After the Community Right to Build Order has been drawn up, it must be approved by an independent examiner to ensure that it meets certain standards. Once it meets the independent examiner’s approval, the Order is passed on to the local authority to be put to a local referendum so people can vote on whether they want the development to go ahead. If the referendum receives the support of over 50% of those voting, then the Community Right to Build Order is passed. The referendum for Atmos Totnes is likely to take place next spring.

The next drop-in at the Atmos Totnes Hub (London side of Totnes train station) is on Saturday 12th September 2015 (11am – 7pm). You can feedback on the latest plans, and hear more about the Community Right to Build process.  Thank you!