Referendum information from Totnes Community Development Society
October 14, 2016
What is on the South Hams District Council website for Atmos referendum voters?
South Hams District Council have published formal information relating to the Community Right to Build Order local referendum for Atmos Totnes which will take place on the 23 November 2016.
This link provides important information for voters and supporting documentation relating to the Community Right to Build Order. Totnes Community Development Society encourages local people to visit the South Hams District Council website to help them in registering and making an informed vote.
The documents on the South Hams District Council website includes an Information Statement about the referendum which provides details about the question that will be asked at the referendum, the referendum area, how to get help registering and casting a vote, and where you can view supporting documentation in person, amongst other matters.
A summary or representations made during the last consultation period, the report of the Independent Examiner and the Decision Statement from the local authority as well as the draft Community Right to Build Order (with modifications recommended by the Independent Examiner) have also been published on this site.
Which development is the referendum on the 23 November about?
The referendum on 23 November is for the proposed Community Right to Build Order for Atmos Totnes, the proposed redevelopment of the Dairy Crest site next to Totnes rail station. The referendum does not relate to any other development in Totnes.
What other information is available from Totnes Community Development Society to help you prepare to vote?
Please visit the South Hams District Council Website for a copy of the Community Right to Build Order (with modifications recommended by the Independent Examiner) on which the referendum on the 23 November 2016 will be held.
For background and specific technical information about the proposed Atmos Totnes scheme, you can still access the material available at the last consultation held from February 2016, including consultant’s reports relating to the Community Right to Build Order. (However, please note the Community Right to Build Order document itself within this link is historic and superseded by that noted above as modified according to recommendations by the Independent Examiner.)
How can you ask questions about Atmos Totnes?
You might find the answer to your questions in the FAQ section of this website.
Totnes Community Development Society, who have been facilitating the Atmos Totnes process, will be holding open sessions in Totnes during November for those preparing to vote.
A briefing on the Atmos Totnes scheme will be held at the start of each of the sessions below but you are welcome to drop-in at any of the times noted below to see plans and ask questions you have about the Community Right to Build Order, Masterplan and the Atmos Totnes design process:
St John’s Bridgetown: Wednesday 9th November, 5pm – 7:30pm
Library Hall: Saturday 19th November, 11am – 2pm
Atmos Totnes Hub (London side of Totnes station): Every day from Thursday 17th November until Tuesday 22nd November, 4pm – 7pm
Other ways you can access information?
The formal information introduced at the top of this page published by South Hams District Council is available to view in person at Follaton House and Totnes Town Council between now and the referendum on the 23 November 2016 (please see the Information Statement on their website for details and opening hours).
If you would like to a Director to come and speak at a local group or committee meeting, please email or call Totnes Community Development Society so that we can support local residents in making an informed decision on the day of the vote. (Contact details are at the base of the page).
If you or a local friend or relative finds it hard to get to meetings away from their home or to access the internet, please ask them to get in touch by phone (or email) so we can find another way to ensure they have their questions answered and participate in this part of the process.
For more questions and answers please visit the FAQ section on this website.
Do I have to register to vote especially for the Atmos Totnes referendum?
The referendum will be run as formal electoral process by South Hams District Council. Therefore, if you live in the designated area for the referendum and are already on the electoral roll then you will receive a polling card in the post as you would do in any other election. You can also vote by post or proxy as for other elections.
If you live in the designated area and not on the electoral roll then we would encourage you to register to vote so that you can participate in this referendum. The deadline for registering, and being able to vote in this referendum is the 7 November 2016. To register to vote: https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote
South Hams District Council are running this electoral process, therefore further information about the referendum process is held on their website. The Information Statement (see top right of this page: http://www.southhams.gov.uk/atmosreferendum) contains details about voting including how to get help in registering to vote, and how to vote by proxy and by post.
Who decided what should be proposed for the former Dairy Crest site?
When Totnes was asked to say how the old Dairy Crest site should be developed hundreds of people from the town asked for:
- affordable housing – affordable to live in for the people of Totnes into the future with a Totnes only housing policy and allocation
- industry and workspace – to provide the space for Totnes businesses to grow and work together
- community space – for youngsters, older people, families… for everyone in Totnes to use. To keep fit and well, enjoy food, leisure activities and the company of others.
How were the plans developed for Atmos Totnes?
Over the last two years the Atmos Totnes project has been designed by thousands of people in this community. They have been working alongside designers and engineers to develop and review plans, to meet the needs of this town through this disused piece of land.
Atmos Totnes is progressing through a Community Right to Build Order, a formal planning process. The scheme has been shown to meet local and national planning policy and regulations and now passes to a referendum as part of the process.
What are the local people being asked to vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to in this referendum?
In the referendum on the 23 November, the ballot paper will have the question “Do you want the development in the Community Right to Build Order for Totnes Neighbourhood Area to have planning permission?” The community can either say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to this question and Atmos Totnes.
In the run up to the referendum people can take a look at the plans for the proposed development so that they can each make their choice. Atmos Totnes plans include:
- 99 homes including 62 truly affordable houses linked only to this community, and 37 ring- fenced homes for older people
- Workspace for local businesses to provide at least 160 jobs
- Refurbishment of the Brunel Building, a health and wellbeing centre, space dedicated to the whole community (young and old alike)
- Community ownership of the majority of the land through a town wide share issue
- Flood defence for Totnes through redevelopment of the site
- Training opportunities through the build, management and maintenance of the site.
What happens if the result of the Referendum vote is ‘Yes’?
Following a ‘Yes’ vote in the referendum, there is still a final stage where South Hams District Council need to ‘make’ the Order, as explained in the recent Examiner’s report:
“Whereas a Local Plan is “adopted” and planning permission is “granted,” a Community Right to Build Order is “made”.”
The scheme that is built on the former Dairy Crest site must then be in conformity with the Community Right to Build Order and masterplan within.
There will still be work to do as a community to determine how the site will be managed, as well as ongoing design work. The collaborative approach design and community involvement that has characterised the process thus far will continue. We will also continue to work in partnership with local agencies to ensure all design work is in conformity with the Community Right to Build Order and meets planning regulations, and South Hams District Council will approve the further detail added through this on-going community engagement.
As well as on-going design work, Totnes Community Development Society will be engaging the community in the construction process. There will be a community share offer in order to increase community ownership of the project. The boundary of the offer will not be restricted to the electoral area of the Referendum, and will be designed to be as inclusive as possible.
We will be looking to be onsite in 2017, but there are conditions that we have to discharge first, which are detailed within the Community Right to Build Order itself. At every stage following a ‘Yes’ vote we will need you to be involved … this is a community-led project!
The scheme is already in the planning process, how would future design work needed for Atmos Totnes be dealt with in terms of planning?
The local community will vote for or against the Community Right to Build Order on the 23 November. If the vote returns a ‘yes’ then Atmos Totnes must be carried out in accordance with the Order Conditions set out in the Order. These Order Conditions, written in full in the Order, and stipulate what must happen before development commences on the site and how development must be undertaken. Where further details are needed for the design, these would be the subject of community consultation as a community-led development, and must be developed in accordance with Order and, as per the Order Conditions, must be submitted to and approved in writing by South Hams District Council before development commences. It is the sole responsibility of South Hams District Council to discharge the Conditions. You are invited to read the Conditions associated with the proposed Order contained within the draft Community Right to Build Order as published on the South Hams District Council website.
What happens if the result of the Referendum vote is ‘No’?
If the result of the vote is that more than 50% of those who vote ‘No’, then the Community Right to Build Order process will stop. Atmos Totnes would not go ahead. The land has always been owned by Dairy Crest throughout this whole process, the intention being that it would only transfer into community ownership following a ‘Yes’ vote. The land, which is currently unoccupied with a range of derelict buildings, would stay the property of Dairy Crest in the event of a ‘No’ vote and it would up to Dairy Crest to determine what happens next to the land. At this time Totnes Community Development Society are not aware of any other schemes planned for this site.
What are the contact details for Totnes Community Development Society?
Telephone: 01803 411787
Atmos Project, Station Yard, Station Road, Totnes, TQ9 5JR