Join in the Totnes Community Conversation to have your say on the priorities to improve the lives of the people and businesses in Totnes
Totnes Town Council is asking residents to join in the conversation to say what’s important and help inform how public money is spent in the town. The Community Conversation survey, which launches on 5th July 2023, will be used alongside other insights, such as the Community Charter and the Neighbourhood Plan. It will help identify the priorities for the town ahead of writing the Town Council’s Strategic Plan for 2024-30 and setting the budget for the next year.
The deadline for responses is 5pm on Wednesday 6th September 2023. You can have your say either by using the online form – click the link above – or by sending your hard copy of the survey to Totnes Town Council, 5 Ramparts Walk, Totnes, TQ9 5QH. Copies of the survey will be sent to all residents via Royal Mail during July/August or can be picked up from the Town Council Office at the address above, which is open Monday-Friday 10am-4pm. Please call 01803 862147 for more information.
What do you want in Totnes?
Community consultation is recognised as a way for local people to have a direct say in how and where public money can be used to address local needs.
Over the next few months, councillors and staff will work together to create the Totnes Town Council Strategy for 2024-2030. This new strategy will inform budget setting over the term of the current Council (until 2027) with some longer-term aspirations that will be reviewed by a new Council on their election.
We need the views and participation of residents and business owners in Totnes; your thoughts are essential to our decision making. With this in mind, we are inviting you to feedback your views on what is most important to the community. All completed and valid surveys (postcode within the parish boundary, no duplicate entries) will be entered into a draw to win £50. This can be spent with a local business or donated to a local charity (again within the parish boundary).
What do we do and what don’t we do?
Town and Parish Councils are the first tier of local government and are statutory bodies. They raise their own budget (a form of council tax).
We work towards improving community well-being and providing better services. Our activities fall into three main categories: representing the local community; delivering services to meet local needs; striving to improve quality of life and community well-being.
WE CAN: Provide and maintain a variety of important and visible local services including allotments, burial grounds, bus shelters, commons and open spaces, community transport schemes, community safety and crime reduction measures, events and festivals, footpaths, leisure and sports facilities, planning consultation, street cleaning and lighting, tourism activities, traffic calming measures and youth projects.
WE CAN’T: Repair potholes, collect waste, manage road closures, approve or decline planning applications, give out licenses for events and businesses, provide adult and child social services, clear drains, repair the local swimming pool, respond to nuisance complaints.
What you asked for and what we delivered
COMMUNITY CONSULTATION AUTUMN 2019 – DELIVERY AGAINST PRIORITIES SET
The Town Council carried out a community consultation in autumn 2019 which helped to set the budget and later the Council’s priorities for the Council term (see https://www.totnestowncouncil.gov.uk/your-council/council-priorities/). Many of the projects planned were delayed by the pandemic (March 2020 – early 2022) which affected ways of working/ability to meet with specialists required.
|Council Plans for 2020/21||Delivery Update|
|Funding a joint project between Caring Town/Totnes Caring and Citizens Advice to assist the most vulnerable.||Council spend in 2020/21 on this project ~£44K (and these groups have received significant funding as part of the community grant scheme). Community Grant scheme then adopted to assist wider range of community groups: £52K in 2021/22, £50K in 2022/23, £25K allocated 2023/24.|
|Starting the improvement programme for the Civic Square.||Initial plans delayed by Covid. Interim uplift in summer 2023 and discussions with SHDC are ongoing.|
|Upgrading and bringing into use a derelict section of the Civic Hall.||Planning application submitted 2022 and subsequently withdrawn due to objections by community. Additional Green Room space created in old kitchen area in 2023.|
|Employing a Community Fundraiser to assist with Council and Community projects and apply for grant funding.||Delivered in 2021 with outstanding results in helping provide advice to and grants for community groups. Recruitment into the vacant post is ongoing, with an existing council officer providing co-ordination.|
|Consulting with the community on a public realm improvement programme for the whole town – including signage, planting, street furniture and public art||Wayfinding professional advice and public consultation in 2021, first signs installed 2022 (and more in 2023). Planters installed 2021. Mosaics installed under Civic Hall, Civic Hall pillars project. Listed Building Consent required for mosaics along CH ramp. Bunting for the town. Picnic benches in Castle Meadow, Vire Island. Grant for Tennis Club accessible garden in Borough Park.|
|Continued development of the Visit Totnes brand and promoting Totnes nationally.||Ongoing.|
|Employing a Town Lengthsman to maintain, tidy, and improve public areas, report issues to Highways and District authorities, assist community groups and engage with neighbouring parishes.||Change from Town Ranger to Town Maintenance Officer role with an increase in hours worked weekly.|
|Introducing year round programme of events for the community and visitors and to develop and improve the Christmas Late Night Festival format.||Constrained in early years by Covid but: 2019 – Christmas markets 2020 – Halloween event, winter wandaland, easter arts (via food boxes). 2021 – Mayday event, Halloween, Xmas event 2022 – grants for events (Totnes Festival and 2 x Meadowbrook, orange race road closure, Sea Change), Christmas Market nights|
|Considering investment in green travel and climate change initiatives locally.||Approx council spend on projects/activities: 2021/22 – £5.5K 2022/23 – £10K|
|To invest in the Skate Park and Smithfield play area.||2019 – Funding identified for Skate Park. 2022 – £10K for Smithfield/Collapark play area.|
|Investigating how best to improve and manage public toilets from 2021 onwards.||Overtaken by events – budget allocated but SHDC didn’t implement charges.|
Your priorities 2019
Following the Community budgeting process held in 2019, residents ranked their priorities as follows:
- 1st – Supporting services for the vulnerable – most respondents willing to contribute £0.15 per week
- 2nd – Finding ways to tackle Climate Change– most respondents willing to contribute £0.15 per week
- 3rd – Retaining our public toilets– most respondents willing to contribute £0.05 per week
- 4th – Improving the town’s appearance– most respondents willing to contribute £0.10 per week
- 5th – Investing in Totnes Museum and our heritage– most respondents willing to contribute £0.05 per week