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Totnes supports neighbourhood plan

Saturday, 18 November 2023 08:57

By Alison Stephenson, local democracy reporter

Totnes. (image courtesy: Alison Stephenson_

It's an overwhelming thumbs up from residents who voted

A referenduum in Totnes has resulted in overwhelming support for a neighbourhood plan for the town.

The vote on Wednesday 16 November revealed a 92 per cent majority in favour of the plan, which South Hams District Council will now have to take into consideration when discussing planning applications.

But only 1,066 people took part in the poll,  just 17 per cent of the electorate.

The neighbourhood plan addresses key issues such as housing, transport and environmental sustainability.

The town’s mayor Cllr Emily Price said the vote signalled “a shared vision for the future of Totnes and a united commitment to fostering a vibrant and sustainable community.”

She thanked everyone who voted, as well as those who contributed to the development of the neighbourhood plan.

“The plan for Totnes gives our community a much greater say in shaping the areas in which we live and work and in pushing for the kind of development we want and need in the future,” she said.

“It highlights things like the need for an emphasis on providing social or affordable homes for local people in new developments as well as the importance of protecting the historic character of the town.

“It will be a ‘significant material consideration’ in the determination of planning applications and will help protect what’s important in our town, including our town identity, the opportunity to be a model for sustainability and innovation and the aspiration that we are an even better place to live or do business.”

She believes the plan will protect and nurture the town’s heritage whilst adapting the changing world and particularly the climate emergency.

South Hams District Council is now required to ‘adopt’ the neighbourhood plan within eight weeks.

District councillor for climate change and biodiversity John McKay (Lib Dem, West Dart) hoped the plan would “curtail unnecessary house building.”

Leader of South Hams District Council Julian Brazil (Lib Dem, Stokenham) said the document would try to achieve the wishes of the local people.

He said too many decisions are dictated from London in areas like planning and he would welcome more powers devolved to district councils.

“Someone sitting in Whitehall has no idea what we need here.  We have done everything the government has asked of us in providing houses and affordable houses and made land available but we still have a housing problem.

“We have thousands of houses that are too expensive and in the wrong place.”

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