Bideford shopping mall set for �11m expansion

Multi-million-pound redevelopment of Atlantic Village could start next year

A MULTI-million pound expansion of Atlantic Village could start as early as January next year.

The out-of-town Bideford shopping mall is set to almost double in size with eight new shops in a new 5,405sqm retail sales area on the site of the Atlantis Adventure Park, which is to be demolished.

As part of an �11 million redevelopment, the new retail area would be “anchored” by a larger unit of similar size to the existing Asda store.

It will also provide 385 additional car parking spaces, a new indoor children’s play area, as well as a second access onto Clovelly Road.

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Applicant Drake Bideford Ltd estimates the expansion will create more than 200 new jobs on top of the 490 staff currently employed, plus a further 300 during the 15-18-month construction period.

The plans were unanimously approved by Torridge District Council’s planning committee against the recommendations of planning officers, who raised concerns that the expansion would have an adverse impact on town centres in Bideford and Barnstaple.

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Similar objections were raised by North Devon Council, Barnstaple Town Council, Barnstaple Town Centre Management and Green Lanes Shopping Centre owners British Land.

Bideford Town Council and Bideford Chamber of Commerce both welcomed the proposals.

An economic research study commissioned by North Devon+ in 2010 said that the extension of Atlantic Village provided a “threat” to Bideford town centre.

A retail planning statement submitted by the developers said the expansion would make a “major contribution” to Bideford becoming more self-sustaining.

“Enlarging the retail offer at the Atlantic Village Centre will reduce the scale of trade leaking from specifically Bideford and more generally Torridge to larger centres, not least Barnstaple, and in so doing enhance the overall sustainability of shopping in northern Devon.

“The development represents an opportunity to create a vibrant, high quality new shopping environment.”

The planning approval is subject to completion of a package of financial proposals to support Bideford town centre and local public transport links.

The decision also hinges on an “implications report” that will go to before this month’s planning committee. It could still be “called in” by the Secretary of State due to the departure from national planning policy.

See Wednesday’s Gazette for news of how a �1.3m action plan could safeguard Bideford town centre.

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