Updated: Town council plans for wharf ‘open space’ rejected

11:13 01 July 2013

Brunswick Wharf, Bideford.

Brunswick Wharf, Bideford.

Archant

Bideford town council told there is no appeal over community asset decision.

BIDEFORD Town Council has been told its application to make Brunswick Wharf a community asset has been refused – with no right of appeal.

The council made the application to Torridge District Council before the announcement last week that Oceanside Developments would take over the wharves.

At its meeting on Thursday, Councillor David Brenton said he was outraged Torridge had sold the land for a ‘pittance’ of £360,000.

“That is what the developer is paying for it,” said Cllr Brenton.

“We could have had the whole of that for a community asset; this is an opportunity that’s going to be missed yet again.”

But Cllr Tony Inch said everyone he had spoken to was in support of plans to develop the wharves.

“There will be two days’ consultation held over on the wharves where people can go and see exactly what Bideford is going to get,” he said.

“This is going to be brilliant and it’s what Bideford has needed for 20 years.”

So far, the plans for Brunswick Wharf have had a positive response from many people in the town.

Bideford residents Rebecca Fearnley and Sara Roose set up a Facebook group in May to encourage the town to vote on what it wanted for the wharves site.

Their poll on the Supporting Bideford’s Future group found that of the 205 people who voted, 87 per cent wanted to see restaurants, shops and communal seating.

“The poll was started in order to try to provoke the views of the younger people of Bideford,” explained Rebecca.

“We felt that there were a lot of people whose views haven’t been considered because often they cannot attend the meetings and make their voice heard due to work and other commitments.

“There was also a strong feeling that people did not want to see a ‘green space’ as it is not going to help the town regenerate or attract new business.

“I know Sara and I were of the view that we wanted Bideford to be somewhere our children would want to grow up.”

Rebecca said she thinks by still pushing for a ‘green space’ – which only two per cent of voters in the poll wanted – councillors weren’t listening to people.

At the town council meeting, Councillor David Howell said the town council should wait and see how the designs are received by the community before taking a stance.

“As a town council our first responsibility is the people,” he said.

“If that means jobs and greater prosperity for this community we should get behind it.

“If it doesn’t do that then we should oppose it; we need to do what’s right for our community.”

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