North Devon Council is working alongside Barnstaple Town Centre Management (BTCM) to apply for the governments Future High Streets Fund, which has been set up to regenerate high streets and make them fit for the future. The first round of applications opens on March 22 and the council will be submitting its vision for the town centre, taking on board ideas put forward at the BTCM meeting last week, which have yet to be revealed. The bidding is open to councils around the country and competition is expected to be high. If the initial bid is successful and Barnstaple gets through to the second stage of the process, there will be a wider consultation with local businesses and residents of the town to ensure the vision meets the needs and aspirations of the community. Matthew Brend, chairman of BTCM said: We all know that our town centre is evolving. Unprecedented changes in shopping habits and the retail landscape mean that we need to think about what function we want our town centre to play in the future. Barnstaple town centre has traditionally been the heart of our community, the place where people come to meet and socialise but with the changes in retail and lifestyles we need to ensure that there are still reasons for people to come and spend time in the town and ensure that it remains at the heart for generations to come. BTCM look forward to playing a local leadership role in delivering real change. Hannah Harrington, town centre manager added: The Future High Streets Fund is an exciting opportunity that could help us turn our visions into reality. This is an initial stage in a very competitive process and Barnstaple will be up against a large number of other towns, who will all produce their own proposals however we believe we have a strong vision and our own unique set of circumstances which will hopefully make our bid successful. If you would like to join Barnstaple Town Centre Management and put your forward your ideas for the town, email Hannah Harrington at firstname.lastname@example.org .