BREAKING: Bideford's Brunswick Wharf redevelopment plans approved

Major hotelier backs Brunswick Wharf development

An artist's impression of the proposed Brunswick Wharf development - Credit: Red Earth

Plans to redevelop the derelict Brunswick Wharf site in Bideford have been approved. 

The dilapidated wharves at East the Water are now on track for a major facelift, after Torridge District Council’s planning committee backed the proposals with an eight to one majority vote.  

The derelict site will now be transformed into 85 apartments, five design studios, a restaurant, a café, eight boutique retail units, plus a new landscaped public square and riverside walk.

A recent photograph of the Brunswick Wharf area

A recent photograph of the Brunswick Wharf area - Credit: Devon Star Media

Bideford Town Council’s planning committee decided not to back the development due to ‘a lack of affordable homes’ and plans to remove a car park. The final decision, though, rested with Torridge District Council. 

Over recent months the scheme has received backing from many of the region’s key entrepreneurs, including local businessmen Richard Brend and Rob Braddick.  

Simon Friend of developers Red Earth, who was born locally and passed the site many times on his way to school, addressed the committee with a statement of support, he said: “There are many challenges with this site: Flood issues, site contamination, a failing harbour wall. These and other challenges proved too much for the previously granted scheme – leaving the site vacant.  

“My vision is to invest over £20m pounds to transform a currently bleak and under-utilised area into a vibrant new heart for the community. But more than that – I want to ensure that these proposals will be delivered. I have the support of many stakeholders in the planning process, but I’ve had to draw the line at changes that I know will threaten the ability to build this out. I do not want this to be another failed attempt at regeneration. 

“Most of all, I want this to be a place that Bideford will be proud of, where people will come to relax and enjoy fresh perspectives of the town.”  

On hearing news of the committee's decision to back the proposals he said: “We are delighted that Torridge District Council planning committee overwhelmingly supported a recommendation to grant consent. This piece of land has been derelict for years. Many local people encouraged us, saying it would transform the whole vista of the riverside and be a major step forward for the town. That support really drove us on. It’s such exciting and encouraging news, not just for us, but for the people of Bideford. We are now looking forward to making this dream a reality.”  

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Being at the heart of the North Devon Biosphere, the buildings will be highly energy efficient, using renewable energy sources. 

How the proposed Brunswick Wharf development at Bideford's East-the-Water could look

How the proposed Brunswick Wharf development at Bideford's East-the-Water could look - Credit: Red Earth

The former brownfield site lies close to a Site of Special Scientific Interest and imaginative landscaping proposals are set to ‘achieve significant net gains in biodiversity’. The plans are also intended to ‘respect the architecture of the town’, as well as the historic significance of the site, after developers liaised with Historic England over many months. 

Work is scheduled to start in early 2022, and Red Earth plan completion for the project in 2025. For further details of the plans see www.brunswickwharf.co.uk

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