And one of the district council’s representatives for Totnes is speaking out against the proposals for both the former Dairy Crest site, and another controversial site at Baltic Wharf, at the Totnes Town Council full meeting next Monday.
In his prior report to the town council, Cllr John Birch, SHDC member for Totnes, said the recent proposal by Fastglobe, the Essex-based mastic company who currently own the former Dairy Crest site, “fails miserably” against the aspirations of the community-led Atmos project and doesn’t comply with local planning policies.
The scheme proposed by Fastglobe consists of 80 homes and ten retail units.
In comparison, Cllr Birch states, the Atmos project plans for the site, with its genuine affordable housing, employment opportunities, music and arts venue, along with other social and economic benefits, is “what Totnes is looking for and not just a nondescript housing development with a few shops”.
He also said Acorn Property’s plans for Baltic Wharf “will result in a large amount of overpriced houses that local people do not want and cannot afford, whilst also reducing the boatyard to an unacceptable size and compromising it’s future viability”.
Following the recent release of the first images for the development of Baltic Wharf by Acorn Property, Cllr Birch said he and other district councillors “remain unconvinced about the merit of their proposals”.
The proposals are to build around 195 houses, a care home, and commercial employment space, alongside some of the boat yard.
Cllr Birch said he’d like to see a Centre of Marine Excellence and Skill built instead at Baltic Wharf, which would continue the town’s long association with the sea, and create the potential for hundreds of highly skilled and well-paid jobs for the area.
He said both sites are key development sites in the town and need a community-based approach, not just development for commercial purposes,
On the proposal for Baltic Wharf he added: “Local families are in desperate need of quality homes that are priced in relation to their income, not more of the overpriced developments that have shot up in our towns and villages in recent times. I would be keen to see the landowners, TQ9 Partnership, engage more with local councillors and the community about the best use for the site and a way to deliver some truly affordable housing, while maintaining the viability of the boat yard. We need to start a dialogue now.”
He also added: “Acorn’s suggestion that the reduced boatyard space has been designed to meet the specifications of the current business tenants is not correct, which is why many are planning to leave, they are being subject to all sorts of unreasonable pressures.”
Acorn Property will soon be submitting a planning application.