Questions are being raised over the future of the Brunswick Wharf site in Bideford as developer works on new plans for site which show 'too much' housing.

The derelict Brunswick Wharf site in Bideford. Picture: Sarah HowellsThe derelict Brunswick Wharf site in Bideford. Picture: Sarah Howells

The future of Bideford's derelict Brunswick Wharf could be hanging in the balance as further amended plans for the site are set to come forward.

Torridge district councillors met behind closed doors on Monday to discuss the site and to hear how Oceanside Developments is looking to submit new plans.

The extraordinary full council meeting was closed to the public and press due to 'confidential information'.

The firm, run by Simon Maunder, won the contract for the prime waterside spot in 2013.

The derelict Brunswick Wharf site in Bideford. Picture: Sarah HowellsThe derelict Brunswick Wharf site in Bideford. Picture: Sarah Howells

A multi-million-pound vision of homes, restaurants and a marina was revealed for the site in 2012 - but so far the only thing growing there is weeds.

In December 2014, planning permission was granted for a scheme featuring more homes and less commercial space than set out in the council's original vision put out in 2012.

But since then the site has stood vacant and questions are being asked over if - or when - work will start.

Torridge leader Cllr Jane Whittaker told the Gazette: "We said the last application was as far as we could go (in terms of housing).

The derelict Brunswick Wharf site in Bideford. Picture: Sarah HowellsThe derelict Brunswick Wharf site in Bideford. Picture: Sarah Howells

"We awarded the tender to somebody because it was the closest to the design brief and it has now changed so dramatically."

Torridge's head of paid services, Jenny Wallace, agreed the new plans showed 'too much' of an increase in the residential element.

She said: "Torridge has invited Mr Maunder to come in because we believe the plans have deviated so much from the council's vision of what we wanted over there."

But Mr Maunder said he had consulted with local estate agents and as a consequence hoped to include more two-to-three-bedroom homes, instead of four-bedroom homes.

The derelict Brunswick Wharf site in Bideford. Picture: Sarah HowellsThe derelict Brunswick Wharf site in Bideford. Picture: Sarah Howells

He said: "The consensus of their opinion is that these premium waterside properties are unlikely to appeal to families and are too large to appeal to retired couples, as the leading local agents believe that Bideford Marina will become very desirable for a slightly older demographic."

He said he had 'taken on board' Torridge's desire to grow the commercial space and had reflected this in the new proposals, which are yet to be submitted.

The council also said there were conditions on the contract, including arrangements for the car park and foreshore, which Oceanside Developments had not met by their October deadline.

But Mr Maunder said he had met his obligation 'to the best of his knowledge'.

Mrs Wallace said after the meeting that the council would be 'making sure it had covered all areas' of the contract which were uncertain, before moving any further.

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