The community and residents of Totnes are invited to take part in making a community charter. The charter will help to protect and fight for the things that matter to the people of the town, from historic buildings, schools, homes and health services to the rivers, green spaces and air quality.
What is it?
The Charter is not a legal document and instead gains its power from the number of people that sign up to it and how vigorously it is then used by that community in participatory planning. It can be shown to any landowner, local authority, planner or developer.
How can I get involved?
Each household in Totnes will soon receive an invitation through the mail to have their voice heard on all the things about the town that are important to them and they want to protect, and the positive changes they want to see in the future. The Council would like as many people as possible from all walks of life to come together and decide what matters the most to them.
There will be a charter-making event in the Civic Hall on the afternoon of Saturday 19th March from 2.00-5.00pm to which everyone is invited. It is a free event with activities for children as well as tea, juice and cake. It will be run as a café-style conversation with people gathered around tables to answer questions such as: ‘How did Totnes come to be your home?’ ‘How can a sense of community be maintained in Totnes?’ And: ‘The Charter is designed for ‘participatory planning’, What do developers need to know?’.
There will be a Bob the Bus service from Bridgetown and Follaton to the Civic Hall. The Bridgetown shuttle will depart from the Bridgetown Spar at 1.20p.m and 2.00p.m. The Follaton shuttle will depart from the Follaton Shop at 1.00p.m and 1.40p.m. There will be rides back after the event. The bus will loop around Bridgetown as follows: Higher Westonfields – Dukes Road – Spar – Market Square. The bus will loop around Follaton as follows: Plymouth Road – Follaton Shop – Plymouth Road – St Katherines Way – Fore Street – Market Square.
What if I can’t get to the event?
There is also the option of filling in the short survey on the back of the postcard invite that will go to all residents during the week of 28th February – these cards can be dropped back into one of the boxes placed around town at Bridgetown Stores, St John’s Church, St Mary’s Church, Morrisons, Seven Stars, Happy Apple, Bay Horse and Follaton Shop. Or complete the survey at this link.
The first Community Charter in the UK was made by the people of Falkirk in Scotland in 2013 who wanted to prevent coal-bed methane extraction (similar to fracking) from underneath their homes. In a small way, by ensuring that the voice of the local people was heard in the appeal, it played its part in the Scottish government calling a temporary ban on fracking in 2015 which then became law in October 2019.
The purpose of a Community Charter isn’t just to fight against things – it’s to use the power of the positive to achieve goals. The town may want its voice to be heard in protest against inappropriate building development and pollution, but it will also want to promote the happiness of children, have roads that are fit for purpose, good health services and a booming local economy. The words of the community are collected into the Charter, which will be held by Totnes Town Council on behalf of the people who live and work here.
If you have any questions, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org