Totnes Town Councillors have set out their strategic plan to help support the wellbeing of residents and businesses in the town.  Highlighting short-term and long-term aspirations over the next four years, it outlines three key areas where the Town Council’s efforts will be focussed:

  • Our local community
  • Our local economy
  • Our local environment

The strategy identifies a series of objectives for each of these areas and the actions planned to achieve them.

When creating the strategic plan, councillors looked at the feedback from local people through the ‘Community Conversation’ survey, which was carried out in Summer 2023. Councillors have also carefully considered other local insights and consultations as well as considering the evolving regional and national picture for local government. This will ensure that the planned objectives dove-tail as effectively as possible into other relevant action plans covering the town and mean that Totnes is best placed to collaborate and take advantage of any public funding opportunities.

Cllr Emily Price, Mayor of Totnes, said: “We want to do everything we can to help make the lives of everyone in Totnes better. But we’re also realistic about what can be achieved, and we have had to prioritise what we can do within our limited budget.  We’ve listened to what local people have told us is most important to them and used this as our guide to produce a strategic plan that outlines what we want to do as well as how we’re going to do it.  For example, we’ve put helping to make sure the town looks its best, supporting vulnerable local people, and supporting the local economy at the heart of our plan. We have also looked at where we can lobby or work together with other organisations to achieve better outcomes for Totnes and gain ‘maximum bang for our buck.’”

The full strategic plan is published at https://www.totnestowncouncil.gov.uk/council-business/policies/ The core strategic objectives are:

Our local environment:

  • Protect and improve access to civic spaces, open spaces, green spaces and blue spaces
  • Ensure that future development is suitable, sustainable and addresses local needs
  • Secure and celebrate heritage assets in our town
  • Ensure Totnes is a clean, safe and attractive place for current generations to live, work and visit
  • Support a sustainable approach to traffic management throughout Totnes including links to surrounding towns and parishes
  • Ensure that Section 106 funding is used to greatest effect

Our local community:

  • Support a lively, connected community and improve health and wellbeing outcomes for all residents
  • Encourage active lifestyles for all
  • Support the health and wellbeing of young people
  • Protect and enhance access to open, green and blue spaces (also under ‘Our local environment’)
  • Support access to art and music in Totnes
  • Ensure access to information about local events, activities, opportunities and other community information
  • Protect and improve the unique heritage and history of Totnes
  • Work with the community and other stakeholders on place shaping and community development

Our local economy

  • Support the local economy to maintain and create new high-quality and inclusive job opportunities. Particularly in better paid industries and the environmental- and highly-skilled sectors
  • Ensure the town centre remains vibrant and offers a mix of goods and services as well as a focal point of the community in terms of culture, heritage and the arts
  • Ensure all businesses in Totnes have an opportunity to be heard and contribute to future planning
  • Explore opportunities to develop a circular economy in Totnes. Building on the history of Totnes and making the most of its proximity to Schumacher College
  • Promote and support local food producing businesses and networks in and around Totnes and promote Totnes as a healthy and sustainable food destination

The plans also express a determination to continue to support local organisations and community groups offering vital health, wellbeing, and arts provision in the town.  This will be done through grant funding, signposting, and partnership working opportunities.  A grant funding pot totalling £25,000 has been agreed for 2024, with applications for these grants set to open in April.

The actions laid out in the strategic plan are in addition to the statutory duties of the Town Council (things the council has to do). Statutory duties include managing the cemetery at Follaton, managing and maintaining other spaces in the town including the Civic Hall, The Guildhall, and Castle Meadow, and holding required council meetings and official mayoral events following strict procedures.

The work carried out by the Town Council is paid for via the Council Tax collected from residents. Cllr Price explains: “To protect the services our communities value, we’ve reluctantly had to increase our element of the Council Tax bill. From April 2024, residents in a Band D property will pay £218.65 a year to the Town Council (an increase of 26p per week compared to 2023).  Increasing our element of the Council Tax even by this modest amount has been a really tough decision. We know that many local people are struggling and that any increase in Council Tax will hit them hard.  But we also know that residents value what we do and that it’s likely the Town Council may have to do even more in the future to counteract less support coming from Devon County Council. To keep council tax increases as low as possible whilst still delivering a strategic plan that will make a positive difference to people in the town, we’ve had to take the difficult decision to reduce some of our activities.  This includes the decision not to re-open our in-person Tourist Information Centre in the Market Square and not to recruit a new Sustainability Officer. Combined with other staffing reductions, this will save around £95,000 a year.”

The opinions of 420 local residents and business owners were gathered through Totnes Town Council’s Community Conversation survey in the Summer of 2023. The environment and town appearance were identified as the most important issues for respondents alongside the importance of supporting vulnerable local people. When asked what increase in the precept (the amount of Council Tax that is passed on to Totnes Town Council), 54% either agreed or strongly agreed that a small increase of 5-10% was acceptable to maintain local services. For more details on the results of the Community Conversation, which outlined local people’s priorities and indicated how much people would be willing to pay, go to: www.totnestowncouncil.gov.uk/totnes-community-conversation-survey-what-you-told-us/


For more information, please contact Lucy Ferrier info@visittotnes.co.uk or call 01803 862147

Wed 6th March 2024
Last Updated
Wed 6th March 2024