Bold new proposals to establish a ‘market quarter’ in Barnstaple town centre are the focus of a Government funding bid.
North Devon Council is applying for £9million through the Government’s Future High Street Fund to kick-start a series of projects to revitalise the town centre.
The proposal focuses on establishing a new ‘Markets Quarter’ in Barnstaple. The funding would address the long derelict listed building and facade in Boutport Street by redeveloping it into a new ‘gateway’ linking the Queen Street car park to Butcher’s Row.
The link will help ‘maximise the opportunities’ within the pannier market and the Barnstaple Guildhall, where it is hoped both facilities can be improved and modified to provide space for local artists and creators.
North Devon Council’s hope is that when combined, the proposals will give a new heart to the town centre and boost footfall to the High Street.
Leader of North Devon Council, Councillor David Worden said: “With the help from our residents and businesses we have set Barnstaple on an exciting course for change and if successful, this funding would see the first of many transformational projects in the heart of our town centre, being called the Markets Quarter.”
The council said the proposals will be refined through a community consultation process before the outcome of the funding bid, which is expected in the Autumn.
Cllr Malcolm Prowse, deputy leader and lead member for economic development said: “North Devon Council will be implementing an ongoing process of engagement for the people working, living and visiting the town to ensure we have an agreed set of proposals that meets all our needs from a well-functioning town centre.
“We would like to establish a ‘citizen’s panel’ to assist us in this engagement so please do contact our Economic Development team at email@example.com if you would like to have a proactive role in evolving the town centre’s future.”
The Future High Street Fund bid is part of the council’s over-arching vision to make Barnstaple the heart of civic, commercial, cultural and community life in North Devon.
Residents, businesses and organisations highlighted six key challenges for the town following an extensive consultation exercise.
The challenges include revitalising the town centre economy and restoring, reusing and celebrating Barnstaple’s historic buildings.
There is a focus on encouraging walking and cycling and contributing to the Devon Climate Declaration, and a desire to reconnect the town to the River Taw.