'Once-in-a-generation' Bideford development given 'full support'
- Credit: TDC
Torridge councillors have thrown their full support behind a ‘once-in-a-generation’ chance to transform the centre of Bideford.
Torridge District Council on Monday, April 12, unanimously threw their support behind repurposing what is currently a decaying car graveyard into an inspirational, enjoyable new anchor attraction as the town shifts away from a pure retail focus.
The proposal for ‘Isaacs Yard’ would see a piece of land between Cooper Street, Mill Street, Bridgeland Street and Queen Street redeveloped and presents a once-in-a-generation opportunity for Bideford with knock-on positive implications for the wider region.
Councillors had previously unsuccessfully submitted the bid as part of the Future High Street Fund, but they agreed that the project should be prioritised as the Torridge submission for the first round of the Levelling Up Fund.
The Levelling Up Fund is billed as a key government tool to support investment in local infrastructure which has a visible impact on local communities, as Torridge has been placed in category 1 – the priority group for investment – by the Government.
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The Isaacs Yard scheme in its previous iteration would see:
- The re-purposing of the current garage building and celebrate its stunning ‘Belfast’ roof to provide a covered events space as well as home for a vibrant food and drink incubation hub
- A community hub driven by One Northern Devon (New Devon CCG / NHS), TTVS and 361 Energy which will foster community bridging, improve health and charitable coordination and address health deprivation in the town
- A vibrant, technology-savvy cultural anchor to not only make people smile but also learn and keep coming back to the town in all weather conditions
- 16 new residential units, including 5 affordable homes,
- Re-purpose a Grade II Listed Heritage Asset (5 Queen Street) in extremely poor condition with a view to it providing Temporary Accommodation for Torridge District Council and enable the private sector-led restoration of a Grade II* Listed building (28 Bridgeland Street)
- Provision of public access to, and control over, the heritage courtyard garden which is currently closed-off and overgrown. This is a true oasis in the heart of the town which will come alive with a range of events.
- Support increased footfall and vibrancy to in turn benefit other key sites across the town, including Pannier Market, Bridge Buildings and Brunswick Wharf.
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Putting forward the proposals, Sean Kearney, head of communities and place, said that being listed in priority 1 should give Torridge a competitive advantage and also meant they had been awarded £125,000 to support the project development, and £140,000 as a priority district for the Community Renewal Fund.
He added: “The Levelling Up Fund and Community Renewal Fund provide a unique opportunity for the district and for the community. The breadth of possibility will ensure that innovative practices can be explored to reach out to create opportunities which otherwise would previously have been unthinkable, in particular among deep rural communities.
“Even though Torridge has been listed as a priority location, there is no guarantee which, if any, submissions will be funded.”
Councillor Robert Hicks, lead member for economy, proposing that the council approve that the Isaacs Yard project be further developed and prepared as the first round Levelling Up Fund Submission for Torridge, added: “It is obvious we go with Isaacs Yard. We are ready, everything is lined up, and I would be hopeful we could be successful with that one.
Councillors unanimously supported the recommendation and officers will now work on and revise the Isaacs Yard project before submitting the bid in advance of the June 18 submission deadline.