Community ideas shape Totnes housing plan
Plans have been revealed for a pioneering riverside housing development on the banks of the river Dart, in Totnes, complete with a Scandinavian-style commune of property owners at its heart.
The proposals for between 93 and 95 new homes at Baltic Wharf, were shaped by residents to reflect the signature style of the Devon town, its winding streets and wooden-clad houses with protruding oriel windows.
The scheme is set to place a 23-strong co-housing group in its midst – one of the first in the country to do so – with residents living in their individual homes but sharing a common room, kitchen and community garden.
Unusually, developers have drafted two separate planning applications, one of which is without the group, which has yet to recruit sufficient like-minded people to make the idea work. The back-up plan, which replaces the common house with two extra dwellings, would kick in if the group failed to recruit the numbers required.
The plans to transform the former timber yard into an estate reflecting the town's maritime past have been submitted to South Hams District Council.
Steve Mittler, managing partner of Baltic Wharf owner the TQ9 Partnership, said: "We wanted a high-quality bespoke scheme and we're delighted that is what the architects have delivered. After repeatedly testing the designs, we feel confident the scheme reflects the townspeople's vision for the new Baltic Wharf."
Planners will also be asked to approve a landscape and wildlife plan to convert the fields behind the site into a community orchard, kitchen garden and grazing paddocks as well as wetland, play and amenity areas. The dwellings will range from one to four bedrooms and include 25 affordable homes.
More than 500 townspeople took part in events to decide the look and feel of the new development. The level of involvement has been praised by community groups, prompting residents' calls for the scheme to be used as a model for consultation on future developments in the town.
Rob Delius, lead architect of Stride Treglown, said: "We've never known a project of this size have such detailed input from the local community.
"For us it's been hugely reassuring to be able to go back and check we've properly understood the wishes of those who took part."