Councillors agree ‘master-planning’ exercise for major flood prevention scheme in Barnstaple.

Councillors have approved a new flood defence scheme which could see the River Yeo re-routed through Pilton Park in Barnstaple.

At Monday's North Devon Council executive meeting, councillors approved a 'master-planning' exercise for the park.

It will see the community consulted on the proposals, one of which is to realign the River Yeo to run alongside Pilton Causeway.

These options have come from a report by JBA Consulting, carried out in partnership with Devon County Council and the Environment Agency

The idea is to secure sites for the long-term regeneration of the town centre by freeing up key areas for redevelopment that are currently 'blighted' by future flood risk.

Councillors also agreed to engage with landowners in the Mill Road area to look at a similar exercise, as well as look at a scheme for the town centre and Strand.

Cllr Pat Barker, lead member for regeneration, said: "Barnstaple has so much potential for fabulous development along its riverfront but the threat of flooding means it can't currently happen.

"This innovative study looks at ways of unlocking Barnstaple's future and I'm excited that we may have found a way forward."

Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council's cabinet member with responsibility for flood prevention, said the study showed 'real forethought and planning'.

The plans are long-term and will be put in place by 2050.

Cllr Brian Greenslade, ward member for Pilton, added: "As far as the Pilton area is concerned, it's good news that something has to be done before 2050 but there is much of Barnstaple that is at risk from future flooding levels. We really must push for the whole of the town to be given flood alleviation priority at the earliest date possible."