The first stage of the Community Charter has taken place and the next stage will be for it to go to committee where a decision will made on the next steps.
The community and residents of Totnes were 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.
There was a charter-making event held in the Civic Hall on Saturday 19th March. Each household in Totnes was sent 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 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