Think Totnes in Devon's South Hams and probably one thinks 'New Age'. Fascinating though this aspect of the town might seem let's not lose sight of the need for industry/manufacturing in a small market town such as this. Totnes was already reeling with the news that the nearby Dartington College of Art was going to relocate when, in May, it was announced by Dairy Crest that it would close its facility near the station with the loss of 164 jobs. In the great scheme of things that might not seem a lot particularly compared with car plant closures in the Midlands for example. But its the proportion that matters - in relation to a small market town like Totnes losing 164 jobs is a heck of a lot. Dairy Crest reckon they don't have the space to modernise and expand in this very long established site. Despite talks and the intervention of the local MP, Anthony Steen, the inevitable is happening and at the end of this week Dairy Crest will cease to have a presence in Totnes.
South Hams District Council are keen to be involved with the future development of the site and would like to see it continue to have some sort of industrial use. However the owners would I'm sure be keener to see it utilised for housing with all the extra cash that would bring in. My gut feeling is that although more housing stock is necessary the need for some sort of industry to replace that lost is even more vital in this particular case. My next post will reinforce that comment.