Councillors reject move to shelve redevelopment of Brunswick Wharf

Brunswick Wharf in Bideford.

Brunswick Wharf in Bideford. - Credit: Archant

A move to shelve the redevelopment of Bideford’s Brunswick Wharf has been rejected by councillors.

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

The derelict Brunswick Wharf site in Bideford. Picture: Sarah Howells - Credit: Archant

The long-proposed scheme is set to regenerate the wharves at East-the-Water to provide homes, restaurants and shops, a quayside walk and a large public square.

Torridge District Council (TDC) signed a contract with Red Earth Developments Ltd to transform the site back in September, with the overall investment likely to be in the region of £20million.

Despite this, Councillor Doug Bushby tabled a motion to a full meeting of the council on Monday (October 28), calling on it to go back to the drawing board.

Cllr Bushby's motion said: "Due to the fact that we have a new council, with roughly half that number being newly elected and having no knowledge whatsoever about any development on Brunswick wharf, and several members of the previous council having little or no knowledge of what is proposed or not, that all such negotiations with the preferred developer be shelved with immediate effect.

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"Also that any future development of this area be subject to full public consultation to decide the way forward.

"I realise that this may incur costs on the council but consider this to be the lesser of two evils."

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Ward member, Councillor Ruth Craigie, seconded the motion.

She said: "I have felt very left out, as a ward member, to not know anything about what's going on. I still feel in the dark about it.

"We have no idea how many storeys this building is going to be and I'm seriously concerned it will affect the visual of the Quay."

A total of 23 councillors voted against the motion in comparison to six who voted for it.

Red Earth said the project was a wonderful opportunity to bring back the wharves back to life.

Owner and managing director Simon Friends said he was passionate to see the major project come to fruition.

"I've already been meeting local community groups to listen to and understand how they would like to see the development being shaped and what the important values are for the local community in terms of how the scheme is designed, constructed and the long term sustainability of the site.

"I'm particularly keen to see that the important historic aspects are reflected in the proposals and that what was the centre of so much creativity, shaping of artisan skills around ship building and other trades, which can now be seen throughout the whole of Bideford, should also be reflected in these proposals."

Plans are being progressed with the intention of submitting a form of pre-application to TDC in the new year.

That application will be the springboard to begin public consultation with local residents and community groups.

A full planning application is then expected to be submitted in the second half of 2020.

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