Withdraw the planning application for Great Court Farm in Totnes

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Withdraw the planning application for Great Court Farm in Totnes

This petition had 461 supporters
Frances Northrop started this petition to The Duke of Somerset

Totnes in Devon. You’re probably thinking ‘hippy’ and ‘sleepy’ and ‘nimby’ - they’re easy and they fit this neat image that seems to persist about Totnes. But we’d hazzard that most people who actually live here, or spend any time here shopping or visiting friends and family, know otherwise.

The reality is a town with little employment opportunity and sky-high house prices (more than £300,000 on average) – compared with an average salary of £21k per annum – meaning that new residents are either retirees, second home owners or high earners who work elsewhere, creating a dormitory effect – effectively leading to a town where no-one who grows up here can stay.

It may seem like we are living in an episode of The Archers but the reality is that we have much in common with campaigns such as the E15 Mums and New Era estates.

What we are witnessing is the slow death of a market town and the social cleansing of anyone unemployed, disabled or on an average wage. But it does not need to happen.

The largest landowner in the town is the Duke of Somerset, a hereditary peer who sits in the House of Lords where he has committed to adhering to high standards in his public life, whilst systematically selling off acres of prime agricultural land to volume housebuilders for cold, hard cash.

These housebuilders are only interested in profit so they pile them high, but don’t sell them cheap –wriggling out of the commitments they make at planning to provide affordable housing. Which is not really affordable anyway as it is still 80% of market value. This has been happening for quite some time but now is the time for us to say “enough”.

The final straw has been an application from the Duke to build on yet more greenfield land, land belonging to Great Court Farm, the last dairy farm in Totnes.

The field the Duke of Somerset wants to put scores of new homes on is land surrounding the farmhouse where cows graze and home to the milking sheds which will have to be demolished ending the livelihood of a fourth-generation tenant farmer family who will no longer be able to farm their land as a dairy farm.

So yes, the Duke’s A Hazzard and we are calling on him to withdraw this application, to act like a custodian of the land he ‘owns’ and engage with the community to provide the housing we need.

It just remains for us to tell you who we are. We are the people of Totnes.

 

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This petition had 461 supporters

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