About SDR

Dartington Housing Association (now called South Devon Rural Housing Association Limited) (SDR) was established in 1958 under a joint initiative between the, then, Totnes Rural District Council and The Dartington Hall Trust. Its purpose at that time was to provide housing for staff retiring from work on the Trust’s country estate.

The Association has evolved over the years into a strong, community based, organisation for South Devon. It has sound working links with the local communities, South Hams District Council, Social Services and other statutory and voluntary agencies. It has an enviable reputation in South Devon for the quality of its housing and services.

The Development of SDR.


SDR benefited for many years from the skills and experience of a Chartered Surveyor who ran the organisation on a part time basis. Following changes to the social housing sector in the late 1980’s, and their senior employee’s wish to retire, it was decided to appoint a full time manager.

Between 1994 and 2000 the Association increased its housing stock by one third. It also participated in a number of initiatives including the Tenants Incentive Scheme, local authority funded and joint funded projects and the purchase of existing satisfactory houses. SDR continued to strengthen its already well established relationships with South Hams District Council and Social Services and developed its work with Teignbridge District Council. The Association provided its first supported housing project for young single vulnerable people and a small community hall for local people at Cornwood.

SDR as a “Housing Association”; what does it mean?


SDR is one of more than 2000 housing associations of different types in England, 98 of which are in the South West Region. As with the public sector, these not-for-profit organisations have social objectives at the heart of their work, while like the private sector at its best they are entrepreneurial and flexible. Whether they be in the core business of providing affordable rented or shared ownership homes, or one of the many forms of housing related support services, all share a system of values about service to tenants and other “customers”, and to the community. In latter years associations have had to be more commercial in operations to continue to deliver quality affordable housing.

In formal terms, the “South Devon Rural Housing Association Limited” is incorporated under charitable rules and is a registered society under the Cooperative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014 and The Homes and Communities Agency No. LH0920.

Our Main Offices are at South Devon House, Babbage Road, Totnes, TQ9 5JA 01803 863 550 opposite Leatside Surgey.