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Long awaited demolition of Great Torrington creamery site to commence in November

Great Torrington Creamery external main building view

Great Torrington Creamery external main building view

The start of the redevelopment of the old Torrington Creamery site has been announced and will commence in early November with an 8-10 month long demolition project of the existing structures. The project is being carried out by the Joint Administrators of Waterside Construction Southwest Limited and Valley Estates South West Limited (in Administration), which own the site, with the support of Farm Finance Limited, and assistance of Torridge District Council, Devon and Cornwall Police, and Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service.

The move has been welcomed by the Council, Police and Fire services who have needed to divert significant resources in recent years dealing with anti-social behaviour on and around the site, which has proved difficult to secure from intruders despite the unsafe state of many of the buildings. Once demolition has been completed, the site is expected to be marketed to secure a developer to deliver a mixed use scheme of housing, retail and public open space.

The old Dairy Crest site has had a chequered history since its production facilities were closed in 1993 and while there have been a number of false starts over the years, there is renewed confidence in the latest proposals. DES Ltd have been engaged to carry out the demolition, which will be carefully planned and phased to safely address the less stable buildings and removal of contaminated materials. As a result, the first phase will involve an environmental clean after which demolition will reduce the buildings down to ground floor slab level. Phase two will involve further contamination assessments before removal of the ground floor slabs and sub structures. Emergency services and the demolition company are asking for people to keep their distance from the site during demolition to allow the works to be completed in a safe and timely manner.

Ken James - Leader of Torridge District Council said:

"I'm really glad that there are now some firm plans to begin the redevelopment of this historically important site in Great Torrington and to ultimately bring forward some much needed local housing. I know it will be very welcome by local residents and blue light services who have had to put up with significant disruption from anti-social behaviour and fly tipping over the years. This has been a real team effort to initiate the demolition and we would like to thank Chris Stevens and Steven Williams of FRP Advisory for their help and committing the necessary resources to enable the project."

Devon & Cornwall Police Inspector Ewan Seear said:

"While recognising the Dairy has played a significant role in the history and community of Torrington and Taddiport in recent decades the site has become a significant danger to the public and a hotspot for antisocial behaviour, fly tipping, arson, and damage offences.  The police are pleased to now be able to work collectively and constructively with the new management for the site to assist in making the location safe and ending the antisocial behaviour that has so badly affected the local community. 

We would stress the buildings are a hazard to human health and would urge the public and especially parents to ensure that children do not trespass upon the buildings. The Joint Administrators, Farm Finance and DES Ltd will fully support the police in relation to any damage, aggravated trespass or antisocial behaviour that takes place during these works. The local policing team will be visiting those most immediately affected, and we will be assisting in putting together a forum for residents and those involved in this project to keep the community updated as the works progress."

Jeff Harding Barnstaple Group Commander, Devon and Somerset Fire Service said:

"Fires and other emergencies in derelict buildings are extremely challenging and dangerous. Many have suffered vandalism and decay meaning the internal walls, floors, stairs, and other structures can be incredibly unsafe. In my 29 years of service this particular derelict site is the most dangerous I have ever experienced. 

Over the years we have dealt with numerous fire and rescue incidents at the creamery, many of which have placed fire personnel at significant risk, including a recent fire in which a firefighter was taken to hospital. On another occasion in May we required 19 fire appliances and around 70 fire personnel to deal with a large fire involving a considerable amount of fly tipped rubbish and old polystyrene cold storage panels. Most fires have been started deliberately and therefore put all blue light personnel that attended at unnecessary risk while also diverting important resources from elsewhere to deal with them.

I'm very encouraged by the new management teams' commitment to help prevent us being needed here, and I look forward to working closely with them and our partners to finally make this a safe place for us and the community." 

Great Torrington Creamery old loading bay view

03 November 2023

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