Frequently Asked Questions

What is planned for Abbey Rise?

The existing building at Abbey Rise is being adapted as a Devon Centre to provide modern, flexible accommodation both for the County Council and for community use. The site also benefits from being close to the town centre, a GP surgery, and pharmacy.

Which services will be based at Abbey Rise?

Services which are planned to be located at Abbey Rise include the learning disability service and facilities for young people in the area.

Facilities will be available at different times for other community groups who wish to provide community support services.

Upstairs, offices will also be available for use by County Council staff from a range of services.

There will also be a Changing Places facility on site.

What is a Changing Places facility?

Changing Places facilities are part of a national scheme designed to help people, including those with profound and multiple learning disabilities and their carers, enjoy the day-to-day activities many of us take for granted by providing accessible toilet, and changing facilities in a central location. Changing Places facilities have enough space and the right equipment, including a height adjustable changing bench and a hoist.

Will there be accommodation that community groups can use?

Yes, facilities will be available at different times for other community groups who wish to provide community support services.

The County Council is really keen to hear your ideas about how the space could be used. Please email

What is happening to Molly Owen?

As part of the County Council’s Estates Strategy, the authority is reducing the number of buildings it operates to make savings and develop public facing Devon Centres that house a range of services all in one place, and have a community hub element.

Through careful consideration of County properties in Tavistock, it has become clear that the Molly Owen building is no longer suitable for use and that more suitable accommodation will be available through the re-design of Abbey Rise.

It is intended to dispose of the Molly Owen site once it is vacated.

How will people from Molly Owen be supported to make the move to Abbey Rise?

Staff will ensure everyone is appropriately supported and involved fully in the move.

What is happening to the scrap store?

The Scrap Store is run by the local community who have formed a committee and are currently looking for premises to store stock which is currently at Molly Owen.

The County’s Learning Disability Service has supported the group by gifting stock and shelving, and offering help and advice, and there will still be opportunities for people supported by the Learning Disability Service to get involved.

Will there be many changes to the layout of the building at Abbey Rise?

There will be open plan offices on the first floor, while the ground floor will provide improved facilities for a range of community activities, dedicated areas for people with learning disabilities, a contact suite for children in care, and a Changing Places facility.

There will also be a new, central entrance to provide easier access to services, a new outdoor area, and space for a minibus.

All of this work is subject to planning permission.

Are the plans available online?

Once the plans are completed they will be available via the County Council’s planning planning pages.

Is there a consultation period?

Once submitted and we have confirmation that the plans have been validated, the statutory 21 day consultation period will begin.

When will work be completed?

The work is being carried out now and the project is due to be completed by the end of spring 2016.

Who will carry out the work?

Construction and Infrastructure company Morgan Sindall has been appointed to complete transformation of the Abbey Rise building in Tavistock.

How long will the work take?

Approximately 18 weeks.

What happens to the services while the work is taking place?

For the work to be carried out with the minimum disruption and in the shortest time, all staff and services will need to move out of Abbey Rise. For the duration of the work they will operate from other County Council buildings in Tavistock, or flexibly in other locations.

Will these plans be affected by the outcomes of the reviews currently taking place over the future of youth service and day service provision?

These reviews are about service provision rather than the future of buildings and the work scheduled for Abbey Rise will continue regardless of the outcomes of the reviews.

What happens with the library and other Devon County Council buildings in Tavistock?

The library is a relatively new building in a good position near the town centre, offering a range of services. The future model of the County’s library service is currently out for consultation, and the proposal for Tavistock is for a Devon Centre model. You can find out more about this on the Council’s Tough choices website.

All other Council buildings in the Tavistock area, together with every other DCC property, will be considered over time as part of the wider Estate Strategy.