Work has begun on a £17 million regeneration scheme in the South Hams.
The development in Dartington will provide 93 new homes, community amenities and employment space to support 180 jobs.
Planning consent for the development on the former Dartington Sawmills site was awarded to landowners, the Dartington Hall Trust, and development partner Torquay-based Cavanna Homes, in December.
Vaughan Lindsay, Chief Executive of the Dartington Hall Trust, said: “The Dartington Hall Trust is delighted to be part of this project which will give a much needed boost to the local economy, bringing new homes and employment to the area as well as improving the condition of existing public facilities.”
Dartington will also benefit from an upgrade of the Dartington to Totnes cycle link, new play and sports facilities, a toddler playground, traffic calming measures, a green public open space and a new short stay parking area close to the village stores and post office at Lescaze.
The plans were developed after community consultation led by Cavanna Homes and the Exeter studio of LHC Architecture, Urban Design and Landscape.
The process began in 2011 and involved 10 forum meetings and 45 hours of workshop engagement to highlight community priorities.
Director of LHC Architecture Glayne Price said: “It was a very thorough community engagement exercise which has been incredibly useful in gauging public opinion and understanding local needs, helping us to design and adjust our plans accordingly, resulting in a development that is truly a community project.”
John Tucker, leader of the South Hams District Council said: “The consultation process has certainly benefitted the local people and it’s positive that they were able to get involved. This scheme will bring much needed new jobs and a good mix of housing, some affordable, to the area, resulting in a vibrant community.”
Work on the first phase of the project has begun at Sawmills Field, adjacent to the former Dartington Sawmills that went into voluntary liquidation in the 1980s.
Cavanna Homes will build 63 new two, three and four bedroom homes at “Origins”, a sustainable development which has been designed to be as energy efficient as possible with all homes facing south and just over half equipped with solar thermal technology to maximise the benefits of sunlight.
Phase two of the development, which has received outline planning consent, will see the regeneration of Webbers Yard and Higher Tweed Mill to include 4266 sq metres of new workspace and 30 new homes.
Cavanna Homes was selected by the Dartington Hall Trust for the partnership project as a result of its long-standing links with the local area and track-record of working closely with communities to deliver high quality projects.
Ian Pugsley, Head of Planning at Cavanna Homes said: “It is fantastic to see the development start to take shape. We are very pleased to have been a part of such a locally-focused project that we hope will truly benefit the area.”
The first homes at Origins are expected to be ready in the summer of 2015.