Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Could long-running saga of controversial grot spot be resolved at last?
THERE may be a bright future at the end of the tunnel for the long-running saga of one of Ilfracombe’s most notorious ‘grot spots’.
Ilfracombe Town Council is seeking to buy the former bus station site in Ropery Road, it has been revealed.
Minutes of the One Ilfracombe Shadow Board of Directors, dated September 17 refer to the bus station, saying ‘acquisition continues to be progressed by the town council’.
Before the North Devon Gazette went to press yesterday (Tuesday), the Mayor, Councillor Lynda Courtnadge, confirmed the council had applied to the Government for permission to borrow money for a specific project, but said she could not comment further because it was commercially sensitive information.
Bond Oxborough Phillips would only confirm the site near the harbour, which has been for sale since July and priced at £800,000, had been under offer for about eight weeks. There is now a ‘sale agreed’ sign on site.
Controversial plans for 50 apartments and four commercial units foundered last year after site owner Omnium Ilfracombe Ltd saw its
proposals turned down and its appeal rejected.
The scheme, submitted in 2009 and revised several times, was deeply unpopular in the town and even a government planning inspector dismissed it at appeal because it was ‘over-intensive’.
For the past year the large site, which also includes derelict outbuildings and a bus garage, has been used as an ad-hoc car park by locals.
John Brown, chairman of Ilfracombe and District Tourism Association, said he thought it would be an excellent idea for the council to buy the bus station: “Then at least, as a town, we would have control over what happens to it,” he told the Gazette.
“The last thing we would want is the original monstrosity that was proposed, but there are so many things you could do with that area.
“It might be a bit controversial, but I think a good idea would be a land swap, say the swimming pool could move down to there and then if they wanted to they could build housing on the old pool site.
“What we need in Ilfracombe is indoor facilities. It should be something that would benefit tourism or the town as a whole.”
● What do you think? Are you in favour of the town council buying the site? What do you think it should be used for? Post your comments via www.northdevongazette.co.uk, email us at email@example.com or write to: Opinion, Unit 3, Old Station Road, Barnstaple, EX32 8PB.