NEGOTIATIONS to turn a derelict industrial dairy site into a community owned and managed eco-housing and business complex are reaching their final stages.
Campaigners behind the Atmos Project believe they are close to come to an agreement with Totnes site owners Dairy Crest following long and protracted negotiations.
As part of the deal between the two parties, Dairy Crest will shortly start to clean up the site and complete the work before the autumn.
Duncan Good, representing Dairy Crest, said: "We are cleaning up the site because we are in the final stages of negotiation with Totnes Community Development Society (TCDS) about the disposal of the site and how we can take forward the Atmos Totnes project.
"At this stage we feel that the ATMOS project represents the best way forward for the site and will help us to achieve a real legacy for the town of Totnes."
The site in Totnes has been closed since 2007.
Since then it has fallen into a state of disrepair while efforts have been ongoing to find a future use for the site.
Atmos Totnes was set up at the time of the site closure to see how the site could be used to benefit the whole community.
The group has since co-ordinated a very well-supported campaign to see the site developed as a demonstration of Transition in action and as a community-led development.
Called Atmos Totnes: the Heart of a New Economy, the Atmos campaign wants the former industrial site to become a national 'icon' for low-carbon building and put Totnes on the map as a centre of innovation and sustainability.
Transition Town Totnes, the first organisation of its kind in the world, is behind the campaign to put the former Dairy Crest site back to use.
The scheme has gathered patronage from a varied array of celebrities from River Cottage chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, to Eden Project founder Tim Smit, Grand Design's Kevin McCloud and broadcaster Jonathan Dimbleby.
Ed Vidler from Atmos Totnes said: "We are very confident about taking forward the Atmos project and hope to conclude the negotiations with Dairy Crest about the disposal of the site by the end of the summer.
"The next step would then be to start engaging local people about the future of the site.
"We are pleased to see activity on the site and that Dairy Crest is meeting its responsibilities."