Phase 1 - Shovel ready since 2019

Totnes Community Development Society were ready to start work in December 2019 once they heard that they had been awarded £2.58 million for the renovation of the Brunel building.

Phase One is the work on the Brunel building, the clearing of the rest of the site, and the site remediation works. The rest of the site is then to be built out in a series of phases, each one underpinned by its own viable business model. We're ready to go.

1. Clean up the dairy Crest site

2. Develop the Brunel Building into a world class Arts and Music Venue

The clean up

“We’ve got all the plans and procedures ready to start the demolition process with local demolition contractors….we just need the go ahead!

It involves clearing the site of derelict and dangerous buildings and cleaning the Brunel Buildings so they can be refurbished”

Martin Bjerregaard - D3 Consulting

D3 Consulting

“D3 is based here in Totnes and we work with commercial and industrial demolition works throughout the country. It has been great to be involved in the Atmos project since the very beginning, contributing with our knowledge and helping the community get to grips with the complexities of the site when it comes to site clearance and demolition.

Gutted that it was sidetracked but hopefully we can get back on track!”

Q. Can communities really become developers?

Absolutely they can. There are amazing examples of community-led housing, such as, locally, Transition Homes in Totnes, the Broadhempston Community Land Trust housing scheme and the community housing scheme in East Portlemouth. In terms of something on the scale of ambition of Atmos Totnes, possibly the best example in the UK is Coin Street Community Builders (CSCB) in London. Since its creation in 1984, emerging out of a community campaign against a huge commercial office development on the South Bank in London, CSCB redeveloped the Oxo Tower Wharf, Gabriel's Wharf, Bernie Spain Gardens and set up four housing co-operatives. The housing co-operatives are housed in new buildings commissioned by CSCB. In 2007, CSCB occupied new offices at the Coin Street neighbourhood centre, also designed by Haworth Tompkins. As well as offices the building includes a day nursery and crèche, conference and meeting facilities. CSCB also offers a variety of community programmes for people of all ages including youth clubs, sports and dance sessions and family and children's activities. The entire development is in community ownership.

Q. Why is Atmos attractive now to Developers?

Because the Atmos Totnes process, led by TCDS, is what made this site viable and therefore, on paper, more attractive to other commercial agents and developers.

Developing the iconic Brunel Building into an International Arts and Music venue, owned by the community.

Q. Is the Atmos Totnes Scheme ready to build?

Yes. The Atmos Totnes Process has achieved Planning Permission for the site through a Made Community Right to Build Order, which was won through a thorough and innovative community consultation process leading to a referendum. A phasing plan has been drawn up and the design team have all the technical design, engineering drawings and supply chain ready to start building in accordance with the strict licensing and phasing that exists on the site.

“Atmos is one of those magic ideas and places. A catalyst for the grounding of lightning in a community where the will and energy of a community are drawn to a project which roots it and provides the stage on which new memories and moments can be created which while reflecting the past are clear eyed and passionate about the present and full of enthusiasm for a future that remains ours to make.  

Community projects when harnessing all that is good in commercial enterprise and all that is wise in the art of being a citizen, is the new way.

It is here in that gentle interface between systems that the shoots of democratic possibility and renewal spring forth. What an extraordinary thing that a project of such staying power and such obvious merit and genuine excitement should have been betrayed in such a slipshod manner. 

I urge all who believe in the power of an idea whose time has come, to link arms and without loyalty to politics of left or right say no…this is a statement about the community we want to live in, aspirational, rich in delivery and warmly embracing of what it means to be neighbours, citizens and creatures who thrive in the company of others for it is this that fires the imagination and encourages us to tell the stories that make us…us! Atmos, isn’t a building, it is a place in the heart”

Sir Tim Smit

Founder, The Eden Project

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