Town's Transition boosting economy
THE TRANSITION movement – which was born in Totnes just four years ago – has put the town on the international stage and pumped more than £120,000 into the local economy.
Transition Town Totnes boss Rob Hopkins reckons that visitors pouring into the town to find out more about the international movement have brought a staggering £122,000 into the economy.
The special transition town tours organised by the movement's volunteer teams have brought in more than £52,000, he revealed.
Local councillors now hope that the Transition Town Totnes movement could help fill the economic hole left by the loss of the Dartington College of Arts which finally pulled out of the Dartington Estate this summer.
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And the town council is now looking seriously at becoming a Transition Town Council – the first of its kind in Devon.
Mayor Tony Whitty revealed that would involve the town council embracing the transition ethos – working towards becoming a carbon neutral body – and working with Transition Town Totnes in 'enhancing the community spirit and involving the community in environmental projects, sustainability and community activities to make it a more resilient body, particularly in hard times'.
The transition movement was launched in Totnes by Rob Hopkins as a form of blueprint to help the community find ways of preparing for a future without cheap fuel and energy.
Since then its message has gone around the globe with transition towns popping up all over the world.
Mr Hopkins told members of the town council's policy development committee: "People visiting Totnes to find out about transition have brought an estimated £122,000 to the local economy."
He said that hundreds of people have visited the town to undertake transition training and added: "Transition Tours, a structured tour designed for those who want to visit the town to learn about transition has, so far, had a local impact of £52,166."
And he pointed out that a movement so closely identified with the town of Totnes had had national and international coverage from The BBC's One Show to the Al Jazeera TV network.
He pointed out there are now 59 transition groups working in and around Totnes, the Transition Streets project is using a £600,000 Government grant to lower the town's carbon footprint and the movement is also working with other groups to give the derelict Dairy Crest site a new lease of life.
The town council has already worked closely with the movement in turning the town's Civic Hall into a solar power complex.
Mr Whitty suggested that the council could become a transition town council – a recommendation which will now go before next month's town council meeting.
He explained that could involve encouraging developers to build to the highest levels of sustainability in future projects and to let the world know that the town council is 'totally backing the movement'.
He pointed out that the town council had already teamed up with Transition Town Totnes to put photovoltaic cells on the roof of the Civic Hall and had also been involved in smaller project like planting nut and fruit trees in the town cemetery.
Former Mayor Judy Westacott told the meeting: "The income that the movement brings in to the town will go some way to redressing the balance when the Dartington College of Art moved out to Falmouth.
"It can only do a power of good for Totnes."