Fears have arisen Fastglobe intends to sell off the former Dairy Crest site in a piecemeal fashion after South Hams Council refused it planning permission.

This may thwart any chance of the community-led vision, which led to the trailblazing Atmos project, being built at the site, campaigners say.

The Essex-based glue company bought the prime Totnes site for £1.35 million in 2021 and originally wanted create a mixed-use development consisting of some 25 homes, 20 holiday lodges and a spa/concierge centre.

The plans were thrown out by the district council in January after being hailed “deficient in a number of ways.”.

At the time Totnes Community Development Society (TCDS), the organisation behind Atmos, said it would submit new plans for the site in keeping with Totnes character and the local plan.

But now a ‘sold’ sign has been erected on the site’s office building after being advertised for sale by Bettesworths for £325,000.

On its website, the estate agent says the property “presents a very rare and unique opportunity to own purpose-built office space in this location,” and an “even more rare” chance to own 10 car parking spaces.

TCDS accused Fastglobe of “asset stripping the value bits” of the site and called for South Hams Council to step in to protect the land.

The former Dairy Crest site ( )

Atmos4Totnes campaign group agreed, calling on the district council to issue a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) for the site. The group says Fastglobe has failed to engage with local people and fears it will sell off the land in a piecemeal fashion.

Fastglobe has been approached for comment.

Frances Northrop, TCDS director, said: “Fastglobe’s intention to sell the office building where we held the Atmos community consultation that many people will remember is disappointing but just another indication that they are not the right people to deliver what the town needs on this critical site.

“The sale of the office building does not compromise the towns preferred plan for the site, but if Fastglobe aren’t prevented from selling other parts of the site - effectively asset stripping the valuable bits - then there is a significant likelihood that the more dangerous part of the site which is the most costly to resolve will remain undeveloped for a very long time. 

“We have always been clear that we want to acquire the site and bring it into community ownership, and that remains our intention.

“Fastglobe have refused to engage with us so far, and given this recent turn of events it feels even more important that SHDC as the local planning authority step in to protect this strategic site from further speculation.”

The former Dairy Crest site consists of three separate pieces of land, says Atmos4Totnes, and if Fastglobe sells it off plot by plot the opportunity to bring the community’s vision for the site to fruition will be lost.

“We call on SHDC, the people of Totnes, businesses in Totnes, and communities across the South Hams not to allow this sale to happen,” says the group.

“We objected to Fastglobe’s planning application. We now object to this sale. We remain united and we will fight the selling off of this important site in piecemeal fashion.

“The idea of the Compulsory Purchase Order has been discussed over the years. Now is the time to make it a reality.

“Fastglobe clearly want to sell the site now, why not sell it to the people who have a vision created and shared by the town to meet its needs?

“We call on all stakeholders including Fastglobe, SHDC and TCDS, to start discussions now to get the ball rolling on what could be a game-changing CPO, or a way in which Fastglobe can sell the site back to its rightful owners - the people of Totnes.”

A spokesperson from SHDC said: “We are keen to see the development of the site in accordance with the Joint Local Plan, and will continue to work through the planning system with the land owners to achieve this.”