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£1.5m community 'hub' plan for town

By Herald Express  |  Posted: February 21, 2013

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A NEW £1.5million flagship community hub project is set to go before planners in June.

The state-of-the-art facility is planned for the Rushbrook site in Totnes to create a community services hub for adults with learning disabilities, physical and sensory disabilities.

Devon County Council currently provides support across two sites — The Boat Shed and Parkers Barn.

Neither site can fully meet people's needs.

The new facility, if approved by planners, will enable many more people with complex disabilities to be supported and also provide the facilities needed to support, assess and enable other users and community groups.

The existing building on the Rushbrook site will be demolished at the end of April and it is planned for it be replaced with a new single storey building incorporating a 'changing places' facility and community facilities.

Project bosses said work on the building could start in the autumn.

Devon county councillor Stuart Barker, cabinet member for adult social care, said: "This is something I have wanted to see for some time and I am very pleased we are now starting on the redevelopment.

"Rushbrook is perfectly situated in the town for the relocation of the services and I'm delighted that the existing building will be demolished shortly and the planning application will be submitted soon after.

"This new flagship development and the redevelopment of the library will be the cornerstones to ensuring services meet the future needs of Totnes and the surrounding areas."

Users of the existing services in Totnes have said they would prefer services to be closer to the town and local amenities.

Further consultation with users and their families about how the building will be used will take place over the summer.

Plans for the new site include a specialist day services with support for families and carers, an assessment and reablement service and facilities for social care professionals to support adults and their families.

There will also be a wide range of outreach facilities into the local community and the opportunity for groups to use the building facilities at evenings and weekends.

Cllr John Hart, Devon County Council leader, said: "I have always felt Totnes will not believe our intention to build a purpose-built facility until we demolish the existing building.

"I'm pleased the project is now moving on, and the town's residents will be invited to comment on the planning application once it's submitted in a few months time."

Local county councillor Paula Black said: "Facilities for all in the area need to be accessible for the most able and the most vulnerable.

"Creating a single site development with increased access to the town's amenities will be a huge benefit for all clients.

"People who use Rushbrook in the future will have the added benefit of depth and diversity to facilities, not just on site but within easy reach.

"This is an excellent project."

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