• Totnes Market Square
  • Totnes T3
  • Totnes Market Square

  • Area designated T3 by the council

What's Going On?

Totnes is an ancient, beautiful town that is justly proud of its vibrant 14th century market. Tourists, on whom the town depends, flock to the market, as do locals who use it for their weekly shop.

It is now under threat of development. South Hams District Council says the inner footprint of the market square will remain, although they plan to build commercial units on either side of it. The flea market, all five of our main car parks and our beautiful Leechwell Gardens are also in the new Joint Local Plan.

That means this whole area has planning permission in principle. We have no further details from the council other than the suggestion that there will 70 houses and mixed development.

Where will visitors park? Where will residents park? Even without the parking issues, how would the market survive two to three years of building chaos? The answer is: it wouldn’t.

Without the draw of the market and with fewer places to park, the number of visitors and tourists coming to Totnes would greatly diminish, damaging the shops, restaurants and other businesses lining the streets, as well as destroying the beauty and character of the heart of Totnes.

Come to a campaign meeting!
Our weekly campaign meetings are held at 6.30pm every Wednesday in the Assembly Room, 7 Stars Hotel, The Plains, Totnes TQ9 5DD. Please join us, find out more about what’s happening and share your thoughts and ideas.

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Last July 2016, the district council launched its draft Joint Local Plan. The area designated T3 is ear-marked for development.
If it is left in the Plan, it could result in the following being built:
  • 20 houses in the Civic Square - the area from the steps of the Civic Hall through the car park to South Street
  • 50 houses in Heaths Nursery car park
  • A multi-storey car park on the Nursery car park
  • New commercial units on either side of the market
This matters not just to the people of Totnes, but to everyone in the South Hams and indeed, the wider public. Totnes is one of the last unspoilt medieval towns in Devon. If this plan goes ahead, it will be destroyed.

What the council says:

“We need to have the central area of Totnes in the plan in order to enhance the area.”
The Neighbourhood Plan group have asked South Hams District Council to let them take over responsibility for improving the area, which they can do without building all over it.
“It’s in the 2016 Joint Plan because it was in the last one.”
This is not an argument. Many things have changed since the last plan was produced in 2011, including the building of a brand new Grove School and the creation of Leechwell Gardens. The last plan for the centre of Totnes is hopelessly out of date and no longer has any bearing on the situation.
“If we take the central area out of the Plan, we would have to find space for another 70 houses somewhere else.”
Some might say that anywhere else would be preferable. But we don’t even need any more houses. We already have enough to meet our five year housing quota. There are already 1,400 houses going up all around us, none of which are ‘affordable’ in any real sense and which is double the number suggested in the last Local Plan.

This roughly equates to about 4,000 new residents. Our population is only 8,000 as it stands. There is no improvement to the infrastructure planned to cope with the added pressure on our road, education, healthcare and sewage systems. It feels like Totnes is under siege.

What happens next?

The council had intended to publish a new interim Plan (removing areas such as Grove School and possibly Leechwell Gardens), for a further consultation with the public.
The council own the land in the centre of Totnes. They don't need to include it in the Joint Plan. We need to urgently pressure them to take it out. Once it is in the final Plan, it will have planning permission in principle and it will be very difficult indeed to stop developers taking advantage of this.