Totnes Community Development Society has been busy across the three community sites recently: The Mansion, Elmhirst Building and Atmos Totnes. Here is a brief update on what is going on.

  • We’ve welcomed the 167th group to book space at the Mansion – we have over 100 groups regularly using space and over 2,000 people using the building each week. Thank you to all new and existing building users who continue to work with volunteers and staff at TCDS to participate in classes, mental health services and creative and wellbeing drop-in sessions, as well as using the library, nursery and all the other activities on offer.
  • Thanks also to all local people and businesses who came to the Open Day at the Mansion to see the plans to make the building fit for purpose and sustainable for the community into the future. As the Mansion is one of the few public buildings in Totnes the plans propose the renovation of all public toilets, installation of new toilets and washroom facilities, new lifts, as well as providing new heating and lighting and a central meeting space in an extended café and dwell space.


  • We are delighted to be working with several of our 60+ local contractors, specialist insurers and education partners as we continue to expand the community labour initiative. The pilot began in February in the Elmhirst Building and has so far provided electrics, decorating, carpentry and landscaping skills to TCDS volunteers including those young people working with us through the Golden Iris project.
  • The Elmhirst Building continues to provide further affordable meeting and creative space for Totnes. All groups hiring space are contributing to the vision as established for this community space by the young people of Golden Iris who planned the use of the space through work experience arranged with KEVICC each year between 2017 – 2019. Local people and groups wanting to use the space and get involved can book online.
  • Up to 70 people use the building across any one day now from gardening to music and tai chi. A big thanks to TCDS volunteers who are busy preparing the café space to expand the facilities for all building users, and offer further training space. We’re looking forward to the café space being open and in use in the next few weeks.


  • The reptile relocation from Atmos Totnes has completed, extended across the summer due to several hot spells. The numbers collected, and moved to safety, prior to work starting on site: Slow-worm: 155, Common Lizard: 6, Barred Grass Snake: 6. We know many volunteers are keen to work with our ecologists on the next phase of work, so apologies we were not able to make this happen over the summer and we look forward to working with you in the new year.
  • Sub-contractors have been providing specialist input on the Brunel Building renovation plans as part of the near completed tendering process for works on this heritage area of the site.
  • Our specialists have been on site assessing acoustic requirements (in relation to the Brunel Building, residential units and hotel) and assessing reuse of materials. We have also continued our work with the Environment Agency to improve flood defence and remediation of ground water through the Atmos Totnes scheme.
  • We are in the final stages of negotiation of the revised contact for sale of the whole of the site with Dairy Crest (now Saputo) now that McCarty and Stone have formally withdrawn from the site, and we are currently reviewing the TCDS share issue documentation prior to its release in the new year to coincide with commencement on site at Atmos Totnes. All members of TCDS hold a £1 share and have an equal right to vote on matters relating to the Society. However, we know some members of the community want to make a financial investment – so we look forward to sharing more on the share issue in due course.


One last thanks for now to all members that came to the TCDS AGM at the Elmhirst Building in September to discuss the activities of the organisation. Your support and involvement are essential. If you are not a member and would like to be please click here.

We will be in touch with another update soon. Best wishes from the team at Totnes Community Development Society