FEARS that TotnesBaltic Wharf boatyard will be squeezed beyond recognition to make way for a “shiny big development” which will put pressure on local services were expressed by the town’s residents at a public consultation event in the town on June 9.

Despite claims by Acorn Property working with owners of the site the TQ9 Partnership that retaining a viable working boatyard was at the heart of its proposals locals say that the yard will be reduced by two thirds which will have a detrimental effect on the boating industry in the town.

The plans for the 200-year-old Baltic Wharf include the second phase of homes to be built — 195 — plus commercial space with potential employment for 300 jobs, a care home and boatyard workshops and offices.

The site was allocated for development in 2010 and granted planning permission in 2013. Ninety five homes were then built by Bloor Homes in phase one and a number of changes have been made in a new revised plan including scrapping the hillside excavation and 80 retirement apartments in favour of meeting general housing needs.

But last week’s consultation raised concerns over overdevelopment and the desire for profit over retention of industry.

Boat owner Henry Osborne said it was a “money making venture wasting a fantastic opportunity that Totnes had in making Baltic Wharf a centre of excellence for the yachting industry.”

A local alternative plan is also being worked up for a centre of marine excellence and skills based on 200 years of boating industry at the site. 

Resident Sandra Dean said her main concern was for the boatyard but also the unsuitability of the narrow approach road to the site : “There are a lot of talented craftsmen and apprentices down there. They are very skilled and can deal with all kinds of boats. Totnes is at capacity as far as moorings go and squeezing the boatyard is not the answer. The old tin shed and roofs are part of the character. I don’t think this scheme is for the good of Totnes but for profit alone.”

Irene Horsburgh said: ’My concern is the strain on the NHS. A care home and 190 units will put a huge strain on GP surgeries and I question whether that is the right place for a care home next to a boatyard which could be noisy and have fumes coming from it.

‘What I am most concerned about is how much rented affordable accommodation there might be because that is what is needed in the town.’

Regional director of Acorn Ed Lewis tied to allay fears at the consultation and said various aspects of the plan had changed and included scrapping the hillside excavation and retirement village which there was no proven need for in favour of more general housing that was.

He said the boatyard was “at the heart of the scheme” and commercial space would provide employment for 300 people.

“There will be lots of housing choices, homes and apartments, and commercial and employment choices. This is a sustainable way of delivering development.’

A full planning application will be submitted this summer.