The community voted on 23rd November that the Community Right to Build Order for Atmos Totnes be granted planning permission. Our thanks again to everyone that participated, and to volunteers who supported people across this community to obtain the information they needed to cast an informed vote on the day.

As many of you will know Totnes Community Development Society did not campaign for a yes or a no vote in the run up to the referendum. The material issued from Totnes Community Development Society (TCDS) was information already in circulation from earlier in the process.  The conversations were based on giving clarity to a new form of development – design created from the brief and efforts of this community, and a planning process little used in the UK – the Community Right to Build Order.

Feedback from people in Totnes during the referendum period commonly talked about the opportunity provided for people without a yes or no campaign. It gave people a chance to have constructive conversations about the development proposed without being told how they should vote. With local development historically such a contentious issue, we hope this process has shown a different way we can speak to each other, explore potential, and ultimately to choose what we want – as a community.

Therefore, as the project continues, and into 2017, we look forward to working again collaboratively as a community on a number of aspects of the scheme. This means that we will be inviting everyone locally to work together bringing their time, skills and patience to the table to take the project forward. TCDS will continue to facilitate this process, including again, enabling designers, engineers, ecologists and other from the design team to work with the wider community.

Over the coming months TCDS will be holding specific sessions around aspects of the scheme, including the outdoor space, further work on transport planning and collaborative sessions on incorporating training into as much of the construction process as possible. Through these sessions we plan to work collaboratively with the design team and local community to develop the final detailed designs to discharge the Conditions set out in the Community Right to Build Order. Please look out for invitations to join these processes on the website, on social media and in the local press. Please also get in touch if you would like to be added to our email newsletter list.

Alongside this work, TCDS have a number of other formal processes to undertake including obtaining flood defence permits and licences connected to protection of bats on the site following planning permission. We also continue to work in partnership with Dairy Crest and McCarthy and Stone to progress agreements around the sale of the land, which, now that the referendum has taken place can, move forward.

The site itself requires careful preparation before construction of housing, workplace and community facilities can start. Demolition and ecology specialists have been working with TCDS for a number of years to prepare timetables for this work. The start date for this is dependent on a number of factors but is expected to commence in 2017.  Construction itself will take place in a number of phases and has been planned working with the wider design team and cost consultants. Atmos Totnes itself is likely to take at least 5 years to build.

In anticipation of joining in with further sessions as part of the continuing Atmos Totnes process, consultants reports and designs within the Community Right to Build Order and associated documents remain accessible through the Atmos Totnes website.

In the meantime: TCDS would like to extend thanks again to all those who have been involved, in so many ways, in Atmos Totnes in 2016, and we look forward to working with you and many others in 2017.