Housing plans unveiled for Barnstaple's Laceworks factory

An artist's impression of the plans for Barnstaple's Laceworks factory

An artist's impression of the plans for Barnstaple's Laceworks factory - Credit: Akkeron

Plans to redevelop a historic Barnstaple landmark and create new homes for the town have been prepared by property developer Akkeron Group, working closely with Homes England. 

The Laceworks is a disused factory complex in the heart of Barnstaple which has been empty since closing down in 2013, and was purchased by Homes England in 2017 to further its redevelopment and provide new housing for North Devon. 

Akkeron Group conditionally agreed to purchase the site from Homes England earlier this year, and is preparing with Homes England to submit a joint planning application to North Devon Council this spring to regenerate the Laceworks factory and create a collection of 65 new apartments, townhouses and affordable homes for local people. 

An artist's impression of the plans for inside Barnstaple's Laceworks factory

An artist's impression of the plans for inside Barnstaple's Laceworks factory - Credit: Akkeron

Laceworks Living would see the disused Grade II listed factory building and the linked Edwardian block, another heritage building, redeveloped into 22 stylish, light and spacious 1, 2 and 3 bed apartments. 

The west and east wings of the horseshoe-shaped factory building would be converted into eight townhouses with a mix of two, three and four-bedroom properties. 

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Other buildings to the rear of the factory would be demolished to create space for six new-build family homes and 29 affordable homes, with a mix of one, two, three and four bed houses with gardens and parking, as well as one-bed maisonettes. 

The intention is to sell 29 affordable properties to LiveWest and provide opportunities for local people to purchase or rent new homes in a prime town location, with some properties available for social rent and some for shared ownership. 

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The development would also feature landscaped courtyards, public open spaces and car parking, as well as access for pedestrians and cyclists to link between a nearby park, primary school and the town centre. 

A public consultation for Laceworks Living has been launched online at www.laceworksliving.com to offer local people an opportunity to review the proposals and share their thoughts and feedback to help shape the plans. 

The website includes a Virtual Exhibition and a Feedback Form, as well as an opportunity to ask questions of the planning team involved. 

James Brent, Akkeron Chairman, said: “We are pleased to announce these exciting plans working with Homes England, to sensitively restore and regenerate a well-known Barnstaple landmark building of historical importance, and to create 65 new homes, including 29 affordable homes, to meet local needs. 

“Laceworks Living will be a safe, attractive area for people to walk and cycle, as well as a fantastic place to live in the heart of Barnstaple. In addition, new local jobs will be created during the construction phase”. 

The Laceworks site is located off Derby Road in Barnstaple, bordered by Parkview Road to the North East and Princess Street to the South West. 

The former lace making factory first opened in 1825 and had a significant impact on the history of Barnstaple and the town’s formation. A large number of houses in the area were built to house the many workers at the Laceworks, which was one of the town’s largest local employers. 

The factory was last owned by Heathcoat’s of Tiverton before it closed in 2013, and has sat empty ever since. After the site was bought by Homes England in 2017, a number of 1970s factory buildings at the rear were demolished in readiness for the brownfield site to be redeveloped for housing use. 

The plans proposed by Akkeron Group seek to demolish some further buildings at the rear to make way for new-build houses with gardens and parking, and to open up the rear elevation of the factory building which has been hidden for years. 

The historic Grade II listed factory itself, which has heritage importance, would be ‘sympathetically redeveloped’, and a heritage consultant has been engaged to ensure the best outcome for redevelopment. 

Designs have been prepared, in keeping with the character of Barnstaple, and employing many local materials, such as red and cream facing brick and dressings common to the town. 

The new-build homes would be created in terrace blocks to mirror the lines of the factory building and complement other housing in the immediate area. 

The majority of the converted apartments in the Laceworks factory building would enjoy dual aspect with barrel vault ceilings and iron columns. 

Vehicle access to Laceworks Living would be primarily from Princess Street but there would also be access to car parking areas from Parkview Road and Derby Road. 

An artist's impression of the plans for Barnstaple's Laceworks factory

An artist's impression of the plans for Barnstaple's Laceworks factory - Credit: Akkeron

Lisa Broom, Senior Development Manager at Homes England, said: “Having purchased the Laceworks factory in 2017, Homes England has completed the essential demolition and remediation works needed to help de-risk this challenging industrial heritage site. We are working with Akkeron Group who share our ambition to breathe new life into this historic site for future generations to enjoy”. 

KTA Architects from Exeter has designed Laceworks Living for Akkeron, bringing 35 years of experience in delivering innovative and award-winning projects to the scheme, along with a dedicated specialist residential team. 

It is anticipated that Brady Construction Services will be appointed contractors. Brady’s is a family-owned property services provider in Devon and Cornwall founded in 2011 which has experience of delivering large-scale housing projects across the region, including a number of heritage projects. The team intends to provide local employment opportunities and use local building suppliers wherever possible, and support the local supply chain. 

Comments and feedback on the proposals are being sought from local people, businesses and local stakeholder groups, and can be shared via the Feedback Form survey available on the consultation website at www.laceworksliving.com

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