- The ‘Re-inhabit Your House’ movement gathers momentum in Totnes and surrounding parishes. With no space left for building new houses, and with people struggling to afford to keep their homes, architects begin to specialise in looking at how to enable more people to share and divide up houses. Innovative design approaches mean that aged relatives move back with their families, and some streets begin to resemble co-housing developments
- The dramatic and very noticeable decline in traffic on the roads has meant that communities are able to re-inhabit their streets. During the summer, street parties and games become a regular occurrence
- Many people are retrofitting their homes with heat wave add-ons; pergolas with vines, porches and shutters are giving the area a Mediterranean appearance. Larger gutters and huge water butts are also very visible
- People are generally much fitter; hod carriers, carpenters and builders all prefer the natural and often lighter materials they are using for new builds and retrofits.
- Totnes and District now features five working slate quarries and 10 small lime kilns, as well as eight new sawmills. Oak and sweet chestnut shingles are now commonplace
- As the local building materials infrastructure grows, with more sawmills, well-managed woods, and so on, building becomes a more seasonal process. Timber has to be ordered in advance, and materials such as cob, clay plasters and lime can only be used during the spring and summer months.
- The wealth of experience that has been amassed over the previous six years in all aspects of natural building, and the innovation that has been unleashed by the many new businesses that have emerged, culminate in the redevelopment of the Civic Hall in Totnes. The iconic building, hardly recognisable from the old one; has been refurbished using timber frame, straw-bale walls, and solar heating. It features a partial food garden on its roof, and also offers an innovative outdoor space to provide cover for the markets and functions in the Civic Square. The building is lime rendered, and the pargeting (relief limework) on the front depicts scenes from the town’s history. The new hall is light, spacious, and was rapturously received by the town. At the official opening, Sir Kevin McCloud, told the audience “this Civic Hall is not only a wonderful new resource for the town, but also a celebration of the wealth of imaginative ideas, the wide variety of local building materials and traditional skills revived over the past decade”
- Applications for the new retail and commercial units at the newly completed Phase 2 at ATMOS outnumber the number of units available. Many are re-siting their business operations to be close to the railway station and a couple of the commercial units, which directly serve the growing, exports of local food products to City markets. Transport operators, including Totnes Rickshaws, Bike deliveries, and bicycle hire companies, are all interested in relocating to ATMOS
- Financial and planning considerations sorted out, ATMOS Phase 3 gets underway. Many of the live-work units have already been purchased off-plan and there is considerable enthusiasm for this new and very interesting development.
Policy Makers & Service Providers
- The site of the former Morrisons supermarket, which closed the previous year, is given planning permission for a mixture of live-work units and light industrial units. Two-thirds of the car park is taken up and converted into an intensive market garden. A weekly fruit and veg. market takes place every Monday
- Totnes emergency services co-locate with Totnes Police Station and give the station and Magistrates Court a full retrofit. “No more chilly shifts” says Constable Waring, who is delighted with the new under-floor heating in the reception area. The old fire station is, retrofitted, refurbished and turned into a new residential home for Elders.
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