Wednesday, April 2, 2014
Plans for £1.5m tourist attraction to boost visitors to town centre.
PLANS are being drawn up to revitalise Barnstaple’s ‘underused’ Strand area with a traditional timber Elizabethan ship.
A replica of The Prudence, a sixteenth century ship owned by local merchant and former Mayor of Barnstaple Richard Dodderidge, is being seen as a possible attraction to boost visitors to the town centre.
The reopening up of the Great Quay and improvements to the Heritage Centre also form part of a suggestion being explored by North Devon Council.
A report by the council’s senior regeneration officer said improvements to the Strand in 2006 had not increased footfall as anticipated and the open space was not fully utilised.
It said a ‘wet weather attraction’ was needed to draw tourists across the river from the proposed Asda store at Anchorwood Bank.
A footbridge and cycleway across the river is also in the offing as part of the Asda development.
The report, set to go before the council’s executive committee on Tuesday, April 8, said: “The intention is not that the ship would sail, but that it would be a tourist attraction forming part of the museum, and host corporate events.
“The ship would be visible from both bridges and celebrate the town’s maritime heritage.”
The report said the ship would cost in the region of £1.5million and be built in situ to provide opportunities for apprenticeships and training.
The entire project would be funded by The Coastal Communities Fund pending a successful application.
The only known picture of the Prudence was painted by Hartland artist Mark Myers in 1977 and gifted to the North Devon Maritime Museum in Appledore.
It is understood, the galleon would be similar to the replica of Sir Francis Drake’s Golden Hind, built at J Hinks & Son Shipbuilders in Appledore, in the early 1970s.
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