MagazineNewsTotnes Town

Baltic Wharf opposition gathers momentum

The official consultation period for the Baltic Wharf scheme has now closed.

As of yesterday- Feb 29- I counted 371 objections to the scheme and four letters of support.

This doesn’t count the statutory bodies who always comment, such as the health service. They warn that the proposed development would potentially create a long term impact on its ability to provide safe and accessible services.  The Torbay and South Devon NHS goes on to ask for a financial contribution from the developers. £118,603 to go towards the ”gap in funding created by each potential patient.”

it is “financially impossible” to provide a single affordable housing unit.

The South Hams Society LogoAmong the objectors, the most detailed response is from the eminent South Hams Society. They have given the planners at South Hams a detailed 44 page document outlining what it sees as faults with the scheme.  It includes photos of Vire Island under water.  Interestingly, it comments too on the plans for electric vehicle charging stations.  No doubt a good idea, but is this riverside site the best place to put them?

Environment AgencyConcerns about the flood risk are echoed by the Environment Agency. They say the applicants have yet to provide enough information about how they’d deal with this.

Paul Britton, the Dart harbour master and CEO of the harbour authority, is concerned about the future viability of the boatyard.

Yet the manager of the boatyard is one of the four supporters of the scheme.


Many objections raise the absence of any affordable houses on the site.  The council has a policy of demanding 30 per cent in  large new developments like this one.

Dart Harbour AuthorityThe South Hams Society succinctly says the development is “predicated it would appear, on the desire of the developer to generate a projected  profit of almost £13 million. Rather than making any noticeable contribution to satisfying housing need in Totnes. Or improving air quality, safeguarding the high street or enhancing the natural and built environment both in and on the edge of the town.”

The Society continues that the developer argues it is “financially impossible” to provide a single affordable housing unit.

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Totnes, on the River Dart circa 1824 Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775-1851 Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856 Creative Commons CC-BY-NC-ND 3.0 Tate Gallery

Tall profits

The view looking up the river to the town was painted by Turner in 1825, as the harbour master pointed out.  Planners may not be able to save a view, but at least one resident is in danger of losing his view altogether if the scheme goes ahead as planned, with blocks of homes far taller than the present buildings. He objects, naturally.

So does the town council, Sharpham Trust and more than 300 locals who see Totnes being circled by developers with eyes on the profit they will  make, but little else.

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