Barnstaple within touching distance of £6.5m town centre funding
- Credit: NDC
A major transformation of Barnstaple town centre could be on the cards after the town was provisionally given £6.5million in Government funding.
North Devon Council’s bid to the Future High Streets Fund for a major revamp of Butchers Row, Queen Street and Boutport Street has been awarded the cash subject to agreeing details with the Government by February.
The plans consist of four projects focused on establishing a new ‘Markets Quarter’ in Barnstaple. The funding would address the derelict listed building and facade in Boutport Street by redeveloping it into a new ‘gateway’ linking Queen Street car park to Butcher’s Row, which would be pedestrianised.
The link will help ‘maximise the opportunities’ within the Pannier Market and Guildhall to provide space for local artists and creators.
The £1billion national fund, led by the Ministry for Housing Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), is aimed at renewing and reshaping town centres and high streets.
NDC’s economic development team had applied for a £9m share of the fund to kickstart the four projects, which it is hoped would increase the number of town centre visitors and boost businesses.
Councillor Malcolm Prowse, NDC deputy leader and economic development lead, said: “We are thrilled to have received this provisional offer. Once fully approved, this funding will enable us to embark on an exciting course of improvements for Barnstaple, starting with the 'Markets Quarter', which is brilliant news for everyone who lives and works in Barnstaple, not to mention our tourists and visitors.
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"Our exciting plans include a project to address the derelict listed building and façade on Boutport Street by regenerating the listed building and providing a new gateway directly from the car park through to Butchers Row.
“We will be seeking to maximise the opportunities within the Pannier Market with options to redefine the space and improve facilities within, which could provide a home for the many artists, creators and makers local to North Devon.
“When combined, these proposals will give a new heart to Barnstaple, a unique destination that will boost footfall to the high street, providing an enhanced experience for all users."
North Devon MP Selaine Saxby has welcomed the news. She said: “I was delighted to receive advance notice of this award just before Christmas, indeed I was the first MP to be told as I have raised, shouted about and lobbied hard with multiple ministers, special advisors and in the House for this scheme.
“It is so hard for smaller councils to be able to put together plans like this and huge congratulations to the team working behind the scenes at the council for the work that has gone.
“While I welcome this investment with open arms, I am acutely aware that we lack a sufficient number of shovel ready plans for North Devon to take advantage of the levelling up funds that will be made available to us.
“This investment is vital for Barnstaple and for North Devon and I will work with our councils to make sure that this is the first of many such welcome Government investments.
“I am also delighted to be the only south west MP on the Levelling Up committee at Westminster where I intend to focus attention on the needs of rural and coastal communities.”
More information on the future vision for Barnstaple is available at www.northdevon.gov.uk/barnstaple-vision.