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Commercial property to let in Totnes

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Commercial Property Guide: Totnes

Situated on the River Dart, Totnes is a historical market town that can be located in South Devon, which falls under a conservation area, known as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). There are around 8,076 inhabitants living there, with a larger proportion of females at 54%.

The first settlement in Totnes took place in around AD 907, and it became a thriving market town during the 12th century. Totnes Castle is a quintessential Norman motte and bailey construction, and has been a symbolic landmark for the town since its inception just after the Conquest, drawing in many visitors each year.

The town prides itself on its bohemian spirit, with great focus on ethical, organic and fair trade, and is a place where the alternative culture and the “New Age” community really come to the fore. It is now a flourishing place for music, theatre and the arts.

Totnes has excellent transport links, with the South Devon Railway Company providing excellent service on the Exeter to Plymouth Line.

Prominent local industry

Due to its placing on the mains roads of the South West, and convenient navigation of the River Dart, Totnes has been an important place for market trades, and by the start of the 16th century, it became the second richest town in Devon and the sixteenth richest in England.

The mining of tin and wool trading were the driving force behind this wealth, as well as a considerable amount of textiles, although this was more prevalent in the rest of Devon.

There is a real focus on healthy living and organic produce in Totnes, and an estimated £19,429 turnover each year from the growing of vegetables and horticultural specialities reflect this. The market place is held twice weekly, where such produce can be found, as well as a diverse range of other things such as musical instruments, antiques, ethnically infused clothing and second-hand books.

Because of the non-conformist and spiritualistic nature of the town, the local economy benefits greatly from alternative health and spiritual centres.

Economic and business developments

Going forwards, Totnes is looking at increasing its footing in the tourism industry. Despite the numerous market stalls offering organic and 'green' goods, there is a lack of employment opportunities, meaning local industry is not on a par with the likes of Exeter or Plymouth, where many residents often commute to.

Over the last couple of decades or so, local employers have decided to take their business elsewhere, leaving a gap in the market for retail outlets, cafes and restaurants to reflect the community by implementing a strong focus on ethical and 'green' principles.

The relocation of the Darlington College of Art to Falmouth in 2010 impacted the town, negatively with a loss of around £5 million, and the exodus of students from the town which ensued is likely to spur on landlords into selling properties, potentially leading to more properties being second homes.

Perhaps fittingly for a town so unique and progressive, Totnes introduced its own local currency, the “Totnes pound”, to support the local economy.

Notable commercial locations

Totnes is well known for its independently owned shops, and this is evident on Rotherfold Square, where an array of bakers, greengrocers, butchers and wholefood sellers can be found. Arts & crafts, books, and unusual boutiques can also be stumbled upon here.

The Friday and Saturday markets next to the Civic Hall are a great place to encounter a myriad of bargains and out of the ordinary items.

Totnes Work Hub offers businesses flexible office and desk space with the option of short or long term leasing.

Nearby commuter hubs

Many people residing in Totnes make the commute to Exeter or Plymouth, the latter of which is only half an hour.

There has also been a recent increase in people who make the journey to London, which is just under 3 hours by train. The town also has good road links, with the A381 serving as an important link between neighbouring towns.