Thursday, April 3, 2014
Legal agreement paves way for major re-development of disused wharves.
CONTRACTS have been signed for a major waterside development at Brunswick Wharf in Bideford.
The agreement between Torridge District Council and Oceanside Developments looks set to pave the way for a new marina, homes and public open space at the dilapidated East-the-Water wharf, former home to the Kathleen and May.
Pending planning permission and further survey work, construction could start as early as this summer, with the new marina opening to the public in 2016.
Simon Maunder, of Oceanside Developments, called today’s (Thursday) agreement a ‘significant milestone’ in the development of the wharves.
He said: “Torridge District Council has set the bar very high to ensure the scheme really works for Bideford.
“It will become a vibrant go-to destination and the nautical leisure hub for the whole of North Devon.
“The waterfront public spaces are extensive and the residential aspect has been kept to a minimum, primarily to fund the associated Marina and other public amenities.
“It’s taken longer to get to this point than I envisaged, but I’m still as excited about it as I was two years ago when I submitted my bid alongside the many other interested parties.
“I truly appreciate that there is much at stake for Bideford and found that there were many different stakeholders who needed to be considered when devising the design detail. That phase is now complete and the actual build now moves to the forefront.”
A delighted Torridge leader Philip Collins said: “Torridge has been considering the potential development of this area for many years and remains determined that at the heart of any successful plan must be an attractive public open space with free waterside access and features and facilities that will enhance the enjoyment of Bideford residents and visitors alike.
“It’s been a long time coming but I’m very keen to progress this development, with really modern upmarket restaurants, shops and accommodation this will be a huge step in the regeneration of Bideford.
“The benefits will reach far beyond just the town but the wider Torridge and northern Devon area too.”
Deputy leader Roger Johnson called it ‘a wonderful day’ for Torridge.
“A lot of staff have worked very hard on this project, and research tells us that upmarket restaurants here will be a catalyst to revitalise the town.
“Simon and I both agree we need to attract people here from outside Bideford – from Barnstaple and Bude – and make them want to come here.
“I think this will happen even more now and it will really help the town. More and more locals and tourists will see what a really great place this is to come and visit.”
Jenny Wallace, head of paid service at Torridge, said: “Investment like this gives us an exciting opportunity to pump new life and vitality into a tired and underused area of our wonderful town.
“We can look forward to a significant development that I feel will be the envy of many-a-riverside town.”
Bideford Mayor Simon Inch added: “Bideford needs a development like this that is unique and exciting but which feels part of the town and complements and enhances Bideford as a whole.
“It should offer further choice and importantly reconnect East-the-Water with the main town where locals and visitors can shop, live and relax right at the very edge of our wonderful and fascinating river.”
The disused site was put out to tender by Torridge District Council in February 2012 and after a long short listing process Oceanside Developments was announced as the chosen developer in June last year.
In an exclusive first look at the plans, the Gazette revealed in December the site would include floating pontoons, cafes, restaurants and boutique stores.
The proposals also incorporate dredging the river to allow historical vessels to access the site, as well as building a number of residential units.
Simon Maunder, director of Oceanside Developments, told the Gazette previously: “At the moment the entrance into Bideford through East-the-Water is very cold with the derelict buildings there and we want to transform this,” he said.
“We have based the buildings on the historical ones that used to sit on the wharves.
“I have also been speaking to the Atlantic Maritime Project about their idea to get historic vessels to moor in the town for free to attract visitors.
“Bideford has its working port which is fantastic and now this side will really make the most of the river and cater for the leisure use of it.”