Gazette readers have spoken out to say what they want to see arrive at Anchorwood Bank development.
Gazette readers have been getting in touch to say which companies they’d like to see come to Barnstaple’s Anchorwood Bank.
While Asda is set to open a new store on the site by Christmas 2016, developers say a number of retail and leisure firms have expressed an interest in the prime riverside site, one of North Devon’s biggest regeneration projects in decades.
Following our front page story, the Gazette Facebook page was brimming with your suggestions, Nandos, Frankie & Benny’s, The Disney Store and Starbucks among the most popular.
Clothing stores Matalan and H&M were also name checked, as were Toys R Us, Harvester and TGI Fridays.
Many readers said they’d like to see an ice rink or multi-screen cinema built on the site.
The Gazette contacted a number of firms suggested but so far only The Disney Store, Wagamama and Starbucks have replied.
Starbucks said they were looking into opening a store in the Barnstaple ‘area’ (see page two) and a spokesperson for Wagamama said they were unable to confirm any openings in Barnstaple.
She said: “However, Wagamama is always looking for new sites and we would love to open there in the future if possible.”
The Disney spokesperson said: “It is great to hear that Disney Store was one of the most popular suggestions, but it is not normally the sort of information we would disclose.”
Clare Robertson said she’s like to see a Nandos, Zara, H&M, Urban Outfitters, a larger Next, and a Wagamama or Giraffe, or shoe stores such as Office, Schuh.
“More fashion retailers so I don’t have to sit on the train for an hour to get to Exeter,” she said.
Nicola Cadogan said: “The list is endless. A Toys R Us, H&M, Nandos, Disney Store, a bigger Next.”
Helen Wilkes said: “Instead of shops it would be nice to have some more restaurants and entertainment places.”
Lee Wallis said: “TGI Fridays is definitely one restaurant chain I’d love to see down here. Our closest is Bristol currently.”
Sarah Bayly said: “I’ve always thought it was a shame that the river isn’t a focus – why not turn it into a cafe strip with national and independent cafes, trees, places for people to sit, drink coffee, eat lunch and relax?”
Barbara Mitchell said: “A better clothes shop, I love Matalan, since moving here four years ago from Surrey, I’m disappointed in the clothes shops. Bigger toy shops too as I have trouble finding anything suitable for my grandsons.”
Sarah Betts said: “Definitely Matalan, multiplex cinema or an ice arena which accommodates gigs.”
And Kevan Harris added: “Anything that will bring Barnstaple out of the dark ages and tidy up the eyesore that the area has become.”
But others said they’d like to see a different approach for the site.
Cathy Edwards said: “All great new ideas for Anchorwood Bank but how about having free parking in the town centre to encourage people to keep using the town – if not all week, just weekends. It worked in Epping and now the town is thriving again.”
Jools Burton said she’d love to see more trees, free all day parking and regular grant money given to support existing and new businesses.
“I’d also like a locally staffed and funded community centre that provides support and gateways to advice and training for locals. Life doesn’t all have to be about making money for massive businesses,” she said.
Rich Clough said: “A university campus which specialises in pottery to bring Barnstaple’s heritage back and attract new spending students to the area.”
Simon Groves said: “Crafts companies, carpenters, decorative metal fabricators – rural crafts companies restoring traditional skills.”