A hotel, cinema, restaurants, housing and a new leisure centre are proposed on the riverside Seven Brethren site in Barnstaple

A hotel, cinema and restaurants are among the masterplan for redeveloping Seven Brethren in Barnstaple.

North Devon Council has released its proposals for the riverfront site today (Monday) based on a report from consultants Jones Lang Lasalle.

With North Devon Leisure Centre nearing the end of its life, it is proposed to demolish the old building and create a new leisure centre by expanding the Tarka Tennis Centre building.

The surplus space would be used to create a multi-screen cinema, hotel, waterside restaurants and up to 250 new homes.

Existing retail premises on the site would stay as they are.

As reported by the Gazette last month, the council’s executive committee will be advised to approve the plan on Tuesday, January 3, with the aim of working towards a planning application.

The report by economic development manager Ellen Vernon says money from the site would support the creation of a new leisure centre, with the old one needing to be demolished within four to five years.

Her report states: “The uses proposed with the masterplan would be expected to provide significant regeneration benefits to support the economic growth of Barnstaple – attracting users into Barnstaple and supporting the town centre retail offer.

“Many of the uses proposed will support the creation of brand new jobs, as well as construction jobs over a build-out time frame expected to cover several years.”

But councillors are advised various issues need to be resolved before any development can go ahead, including flood risk, the use of the site for Barnstaple Fair, car parking requirements and the ground conditions.

The Environment Agency will soon be working on flood defences for the new Anchorwood Bank homes and the council said it had been in detailed discussion about working towards protection for Seven Brethren.

The report concludes: “The alternative option is to do nothing. This is felt to miss the opportunity to realise the multiple benefits to the wider community and economy from the regeneration of this site.

“This is a long term project and there will be further opportunities to shape the detail of the project and its delivery.”

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