Council says ‘options’ are still being looked at but ideas are being kept under wraps

The future of Barnstaple’s former heritage centre is still undecided – six months after the centre closed.

In January, owner North Devon Council said the listed building on the Strand – also known as Queen Anne’s Walk – was a ‘blank canvas’.

But speaking to the Gazette this week, Jon Triggs, the council’s head of resources, said were still being explored.

“We are in the early stages of looking at what options could be explored for the future use of the heritage centre; there are no plans to share at this current time.”

What could the future hold for Barnstaple's former heritage centre. Picture: Sarah HowellsWhat could the future hold for Barnstaple's former heritage centre. Picture: Sarah Howells

For many years, Barnstaple Town Council leased the building to offer visitors an interactive glimpse into the town’s past.

The town council closed the centre in March and is expected to hand back the keys to the district council later this month.

When the Gazette reported the heritage centre was closing, readers got in touch with a range of suggestions for its use, ranging from a registry office to a restaurant, while many wanted to see it retain some heritage function.

Council leader Des Brailey said early ideas for its use had included a possible new council chamber or wedding venue but discussions had since ‘moved on’.

“We’ve still got decisions to make; we’ve got ideas but I’m not prepared to say at this stage,” he said.

Mr Brailey said the council was now looking to hold meetings at its base at Brysworthy Environment Centre – starting with a full council meeting on Wednesday night.

“Hopefully we will be able to do most of the meetings up here,” added Mr Brailey.

“We have two big meeting rooms that can also hold up to 20 members of the public.”

The council is also looking to add a second storey extension at Brynsworthy to create extra office space for other staff currently based at Lynton House and in the museum.

How would you like to see the heritage centre used? Email your thoughts to newsdesk@northdevongazette.co.uk