Marina plans bring ‘promise’ of jobs

Joseph Bulmer

A proposal for the new multi-million-pound Torridge Marina promises hundreds of new jobs and a boost for the tourism industry.

CONSULTATIONS for a revised proposal for Torridge Marina are due to begin, with a firm emphasis on job creation.

The original plans for a 250-berth marina at Knapp House, between Northam and Appledore, were submitted to Torridge District Council in 2010 but were withdrawn after more than 350 members of the public objected.

The developers, Len Tanner and Paul Hevingham, said they had spent the last two years reviewing the consultation responses, and claim: “We have listened to what you wanted.”

Following this assertion, the new multi-million pound proposal brings with it the promise of a minimum of 850 new jobs in different sectors.

As well as employment generated through an hotel, retail outlets and a food store, developers say the proposed development would create highly skilled and well-paid jobs in marine services, a medical centre and through nursing within a 90-bed care village.

The original plans drew concerns over the amount of housing involved in the development but Mr Tanner said the new plans outlined 295 homes instead of the original 450.

“We have listened to what everybody wanted,” he said. “The problem is to get the marina we need the houses. But we hope that having fewer houses will also ease the concerns people had before over traffic problems.”

Mr Tanner said that they had had a full traffic investigation approved by Devon County Council that would involve new roundabouts being built on Haywood Road and Churchill Way.

The proposal also focuses on raising the profile of local tourism and outlines the construction of up to 80 holiday apartments and the 40-room “Burgess Manor Hotel”.

Also included is an 80-100-cover restaurant, a food store and a small retail unit including bike hire and water taxi kiosks.

Mr Tanner also explained that the proposal for the hotel had changed from the original plans in response to previous objections from the public.

He said: “We have moved the hotel from the front of the marina and redesigned it as more of a ‘country house’ to the side of the main development.

“We have done masses of environmental checks; every single aspect has been considered and we have made quite a few allowances on the plans in working with the Environment Agency.”

The developers will be holding two public meetings this month to view and discuss the proposal.

The first meeting will take place at Northam Community Hall, on January 20, from 2-8pm. Formal presentations with question and answer sessions will be held at 2pm, 4pm and 6pm, and exhibition boards will be available to view throughout the meeting.

The second meeting will take place at the Burton Art Gallery in Bideford, on January 21, from 9am-1pm. Presentations will be held at 9am and 11am.

All stakeholders have also been invited by Bideford Chamber of Commerce to a preview session of the proposal at Knapp House on January 19, from 2-8pm with presentations at 2pm, 4pm and 6pm.

Following these meetings and a month of community consultation, it is anticipated that a formal planning application will be submitted to Torridge District Council early next month.