A controversial planning application for major development at Baltic Wharf, Totnes has been submitted to South Hams District Council. The plans consist of 194 dwellings, a 55 bed care home, 12 commercial buildings and a reduced boatyard.

The proposals have garnered a multitude of complaints from residents saying, that the proposals have too many houses, no provision for social housing and another care home in the town will put more pressure on already overwhelmed local GPs, dentists and pharmacies.

The plans have been developed and submitted by Acorn Property Group. The application is under consultation until 22nd February 2024.  

Cllr John Birch, South Hams district councillor for Totnes, said: “Having seen the Acorn’s development plans I question the merit of its proposals. I believe that the Acorn plans will result in a large number of overpriced houses that local people do not want and cannot afford, whilst also reducing the boatyard to an unacceptable size and compromising its future viability.

“The planning application submitted by Acorn makes no proper provision for affordable housing. The adopted local development plan provides for schemes such as this to have a minimum of 30% affordable housing. Acorn fails in this respect.

“What’s more Acorn’s scheme doubles up on the numbers provided for in the local development plan (95 dwellings) on top of failing to provide proper provision for affordable housing.

“We have a housing crisis in South Hams in which we have young working families in desperate need of quality homes that they can afford. We do not need more of the overpriced developments that have shot up in our towns and villages.

“Acorn’s scheme seems to ignore or address our housing crisis, and this is not acceptable. This omission is one of several reasons why I believe the application should be turned down by the planners.

“Another reason is the sheer volume of additional traffic that will be generated by the proposed scheme. The application states that 324 car parking spaces will be provided for the use of residents and businesses. This is in addition to the other traffic travelling to and from the development. The increased volume of traffic will have an adverse impact on the air quality in the adjoining areas of the town as well add to the current congestion.”

Celia Minoughan, resident of Totnes, said: “These ultra modern five storey blocks of flats are the kind you’d expect in a city like Bristol, not in a country market town like Totnes. They will ruin the iconic views of the River Dart from Steamer Quay, much loved by tourists and locals alike. As a resident of Totnes, I’ll certainly be objecting to South Hams District Council.”

John Birch and fellow district councillor John McKay have put forward an alternative scheme, stating: “There is an alternative. I along with other councillors would like to see a Centre of Marine Excellence and Skill built that would continue the town’s long association with the sea and create the potential for 100’s of highly skilled and well-paid jobs for the area. To find out more about this, and about how to lend your support to the proposal, please visit the Baltic Wharf website”.

The planning application documents can be found on the South Hams District Council website at https://southhams.planning-register.co.uk/Planning/Display/3995/23/FUL