2016 TotSoc AGM

Following last year's very successful illustrated talk by Barrington Weekes we are delighted to welcome him back again. The AGM will be held at the Royal Seven Stars on Thursday 20th October, starting at 7pm.

The talk will start promptly at 7.30pm. TOTSOC and TOTNES IMAGE BANK members 2.00, non-members 3.00 on the door. Please come along and bring some friends too for what promises to be an extremely interesting, informative and entertaining evening.

Tickets at the door: £2.00 for members, £3 for non-members on the door.

Minutes of TotSoc Committee Meetings

Minutes of the bi-monthly committee meetings are now on the website here.

An Open Letter from the Stoke Gabriel low-e Group

Stoke Gabriel low-e
'Instow', Flood Street
Stoke Gabriel
Totnes, TQ9 6QL

18th November 2012

Dear Sir/Madam

We are writing to you from Stoke Gabriel low-e group, originally set up as a Transitions Streets group in 2010. We aim to promote and encourage energy saving, sustainability and renewable energy within our parish of Stoke Gabriel and the South Hams.

When a housing development of 43 homes was planned for our village and the developer withdrew the original plans to fit solar thermal panels, the group referred to South Hams District Council's policy document, the Development Plan document, Section 4 (DP4), on sustainable construction which states that developments of 10+ dwellings must supply 10% of their energy on site from renewable energy sources.

Representations from our community group to South Hams District Council prompted the planning office to implement a new planning condition requiring developments in the South Hams to comply with this policy requirement. Developers now have to supply an Energy Statement with their planning application stating how this requirement will be met.

The low-e group focused on the renewable energy requirement, however, DP4 (copied below) also contains many other excellent provisions on sustainable construction that are not all being implemented. We would like to join with individuals and community groups across the South Hams to lobby for all the provisions in DP4 to be implemented in full to ensure that planning policy on environmental protection, quality design and sustainable construction are always required by South Hams District Council.

We think that our success with renewable energy was due to the fact that we were only asking for the full implementation of existing South Hams policy. As planners have to reconcile the needs of developers, the need for new and affordable homes and meet national housing targets, the environmental standards in their own policy can lose out. However, our experience shows that when we raised the profile of the environmental requirements and asked South Hams District Council to fully implement the environmental provisions set out in South Hams policy, the officers were able to assign it higher priority.

So we believe that this is something well worth doing to ensure that the South Hams will build only well designed, sustainable developments that benefit the community. The low-e group would be happy to support groups or individuals undertaking this work, which can be carried out in a number of ways; firstly by responding to planning applications as they come up in your area, and secondly contributing to your local master plan, development brief, neighbourhood plan, parish plan or village design statement.

If you are interested please contact us, and if you have any contacts with community groups who may be interested please forward this letter.

Caroline Snow
Helen Kummer
Stoke Gabriel low-e

South Hams Policy DP4: Sustainable Construction

  1. Development should be adaptable, anticipating change in household needs and family structures throughout their lifetime as well as anticipating the impacts of climate change.
  2. Development should use locally sourced materials where possible, and minimise the use of materials, by using recycled materials in the construction of the development and minimising waste during construction.
  3. Development will avoid or mitigate any increase to the risks of floods occurring or to their severity both on site and elsewhere.
  4. Development should avoid or mitigate any risk from contaminated land, erosion or instability.
  5. Development should avoid or mitigate any harm to water, land or air from noise, fumes, dust, vibrations, light or heat.
  6. Buildings will be sited and orientated to maximise passive solar gain.
  7. Notwithstanding the national standards that prevail at the time an application is made, development should be carried out to the highest standards of sustainable construction where viable and practicable.
  8. At least 10% of the energy to be used in new development of more than 10 dwellings or 1,000m2 of non-residential floorspace should come from decentralised and renewable or low-carbon sources, unless, having regard to the type of development involved and its design, this is not feasible or viable.
  9. Development comprising 10 or more dwellings should meet "Lifetime Home Standards" on at least 25% of homes.
  10. Large scale development should provide for Combined Heat and Power schemes, where appropriate.

Draft National Planning Policy Framework

The TotSoc submission on the Draft National Planning Policy Framework can be downloaded here.

Autumn 2011 edition of Contact now available

The new edition of Contact can be downloaded from the Archive page.

Baltic Wharf - Media Statement from G4BW - October 2010

This new media statement can be downloaded here.

Baltic Wharf Redevelopment

Paul Bennett and Louis Victory of TotSoc are two of the authors of a report on the plans for the redevelopment of Baltic Wharf. The report can be downloaded here.