An ‘Ilfracombe Eden Project’ for the seafront?

Joseph Bulmer

Regeneration proposals for Ilfracombe seek to create attractive garden and landscape areas along the seafront.

A facelift for Capstone, a caf� culture and Ilfracombe’s own “Eden Project” were among proposals to revamp the seafront presented to town councillors.

Consultants LDA have put together a plan that would form the first phase of a regeneration scheme, focussing initially on Capstone, the area around the old Pavilion site and the putting green.

Ellen Vernon, North Devon Council’s economic regeneration officer, gave a presentation to Ilfracombe Town councillors at a meeting on Monday prior to the plans going on display for public consultation.

The district council has currently set aside �1.5 million for the seafront enhancement and Mrs Vernon said these initial plans were what could be achieved with the available budget.

Under the proposals, Capstone would be turned back into a wild meadow and natural cliff area, but with more paths and better access for pushchairs and wheelchairs, as well as grassy picnic areas.

The crazy golf on the seafront has always proved popular and it is proposed to move this to the grassy area at the base of Capstone.

In turn this would allow the creation of what could be one of the most eye-catching elements of the plan – a biodiverse garden with exotic plants.

“Four areas are proposed, a natural northern Devon section and then three different sub-tropical scenes, such a palmed or Spanish gardens – much like the Eden Project but with hardier plant varieties,” said Mrs Vernon.

“It’s all about trying to create a space that attracts people. There will be paths through it and places to explore, with different elements in there such as public art works and activities for children.”

A stronger more defined promenade area, plus seafront decking to create a caf� culture atmosphere are also proposed, as is the installation of eye-catching water jets near Preacher’s Rock.

The plans will now go out to public consultation and are initially available to view or comment on via The plans will be made more widely available in the coming days.

Once they have been refined based on public feedback, approval obtained and contractors appointed, it is hoped to begin on site in October of this year with the scheme ready by summer 2012.

Future phases of the scheme would seek to focus on the Landmark and Runnymede Garden areas when funding is available.