Plans to redevelop Barnstaple’s Oliver Buildings into new homes, restaurants and commercial space are being recommended for approval.

Acorn Property Group's application for the former Shapland and Petter factory is set to be determined by North Devon Council's planning committee when it meets at Barnstaple Rugby Club on Wednesday, March 11.

If approved, the Grade II listed building will be redeveloped into apartments, shops and restaurants, and the riverside area will include kiosks and market stalls.

The plans also include a tower-building which will match the height of the two listed blocks, having been scaled back for a second time after opposition from Historic England.

Initial plans submitted in January 2019 saw the tower measure in at six storeys, and a first revised plan submitted the following summer saw it reduced to five.

Plans for the Oliver Buildings are expected before the end of the year.Plans for the Oliver Buildings are expected before the end of the year.

The block, now four storeys, will include commercial space and apartments.

A report to the council's planning committee recommends the application is approved.

It said: "Finding a solution for this site is essential as the continuing deterioration of these listed buildings remains a concern and the regeneration of this very prominent riverside site will assist with maintaining the viability and vitality of the wider Barnstaple Town Centre."

It continued: "There is public benefit to delivering a comprehensive mixed-use proposal on this site by way of securing the viable long-term future of this designated heritage asset whilst also delivering a sustainable form of development on the edge of Barnstaple town centre, including 50 residential units that will contribute to housing supply and the choice of homes in the District as well as additional commercial uses with their associated jobs and economic investment.

"The redesigned Block One, which is proposed in an area that does already include some small scale structures and is on part of the site that is very run down and derelict in appearance is now considered appropriate in scale in respect of its relationship to the listed building and the wider public realm and will help to frame the Oliver Buildings rather than compete with them."

The historic buildings date back to 1888. They were designed by local architect William Clement Oliver for Shapland and Petter and have been Grade II listed since 2015.