Maritime project ‘too ambitious’ for wharves site

The team behind the project is hoping to force further public consultation on the key regeneration site.

A MARITIME project told it was ‘too ambitious’ for Bideford is calling for further public consultations on the East-the-Water wharves site.

The Atlantic Maritime Project hoped to build a maritime centre on the site, including a boatbuilding school, interactive discovery zone, heritage section and ‘crow’s nest’ caf�.

The team behind the project estimated it would bring in around 35,000 visitors a year, and hoped it could work in conjunction with other attractions in the area, such as the North Devon Maritime Museum in Appledore.

But project manager Dave Hall and chairman Andy Lincoln are hoping to force further consultation on the site after being told the project would not be going ahead.

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Mr Hall said: “We felt we had a lot of support and then suddenly after one meeting we were told our project was too ambitious.

“This had the potential to put something really important on this site that reflects the heritage nature of the town.

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“They are talking about putting up to eight cafes and restaurants on the site - there aren’t even eight cafes or restaurants in the whole of Bideford.

“I feel if they go ahead as they want to it could fail big time.”

The project has also gained a charitable status and hoped to fund bursaries and qualifications in conjunction with Petroc.

Mr Lincoln said: “At present there are only two major attractions in Bideford, and both of these are outside of the town.

“We both worked on the Kathleen & May for many years when she was berthed in Bideford and people loved seeing the ship in the quay and learning all about it.

“We have several ships that would have visited the town regularly had the project gone ahead, and a little while ago we arranged for the Matthew to come to Bideford so people could see what it would be like, and it was a great hit.”

The working group deciding the fate of the key regeneration site is currently choosing between the final two developers to take on the site.

Mr Hall said: “We hope people will talk to their town and district councillors and call upon Torridge to consult the public further on what they want to see.”

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