Totnes referendum to decide Brunel pump station future

A ground-breaking referendum is to be held in Totnes. However, this time it will have nothing to with Brexit, but instead with the future of a railway building of international importance.

A Great Western Railway InterCity125 bound for Paddington pulls away from Totnes on August 23, with the listed Brunel atmospheric railway pumping station on the left. ROBIN JONES
A Great Western Railway InterCity125 bound for Paddington pulls away from Totnes on August 23, with the listed Brunel atmospheric railway pumping station on the left. ROBIN JONES

Under the banner of Atmos Totnes, the local community has drawn up plans to redevelop an eight-acre disused dairy alongside the South West main line after successfully campaigning for its centrepiece – a pumping station from Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s short-lived South Devon atmospheric railway – to be given listed building protection.

The Brunel Building in the centre of the site is one of only three surviving pumping houses from the scheme. However, in this instance, the atmospheric railway never reached Totnes, and the landmark structure was never fitted out as a pumping station

The plans integrate the heritage of this iconic building within the context of a new community-led approach to develop housing, employment and community facilities.

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