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Totnes and Dartington have between them 413 listed buildings, the highest number of listed buildings in Devon. The Totnes Heritage Trust has identified a need to meet the challenge of improving the environmental performance of these buildings by what is called “retrofitting”.

Retrofitting refers to any improvement work on an existing building to improve its energy efficiency, making it easier to heat, able to retain that heat for longer and replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy.

The retrofitting of historic buildings will reduce carbon emissions, generate economic benefits and play a crucial role in achieving climate change targets. However the retrofitting of listed buildings brings with it challenges such as obtaining listed building consent and funding to cover the cost of the works.

John Birch, the chair of the Totnes Heritage Trust, said: “The project proposed by the trust aims to meet the challenge by playing a leading role in identifying those listed buildings suitable for retrofitting and working with their owners and South Hams District Council to bring about an improvement in their environmental performance.

The key elements of the project will involve:

  • Identifying those works required to improve the environmental performance

  • Working with the owners and South Hams District Council to obtain Listed Building Consent

  • Assisting in identifying funding to cover the cost of the works and assisting in the appointment and supervision of the contractors and specialists to carry out the works.

John added: "The trust’s proposed project will involve working alongside South Hams District Council, which has declared a Climate Change Emergency. The council has a climate change action plan that encourages the improvement of the environmental performance of buildings and the trust will seek to play its part.”

The trust has submitted an Expression of Interest for funding to the Architectural Heritage Fund’s Heritage Development Trusts and if successful, will make plans to get the project underway.

Meanwhile the trust is in discussions with the trustees that own and run The Mansion and are working up a development programme for a project to address the urgent items of repair and renovation works to the building so that it continues to have secure future.

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