Queen Anne’s Walk has been empty since March 2016.

Plans to transform Barnstaple’s former heritage centre have been submitted to North Devon Council.

An application to change Queen Anne’s Walk on the Strand to a form a restaurant have been submitted by applicants Mr and Mrs P Rhodes.

A design, access and support statement for the Grade II listed building from agents Peregrine Mears Architects indicates the business could be called Queen Anne’s Café on the Strand.

It is hoped the restaurant will open in the summer.

The Queen Anne's Walk building: Picture: Peregrine Mears ArchitectsThe Queen Anne's Walk building: Picture: Peregrine Mears Architects

Director Peregrine Mears said: Queen Anne’s Walk is a vital part of Barnstaple’s heritage so we are delighted to help it be sensitively converted to a sympathetic new use.

“A riverside restaurant will give the building a new lease of life, allowing it to be enjoyed by locals and visitors once more.”

The support statement for the application added: “Finding a suitable alternative use is vital to prevent the buildings falling into further disrepair.

“The proposed scheme looks to sensitively alter and refurbish the existing building in a way which balances the applicant’s needs with the need to protect an important heritage asset.

“The proposed change of use to a restaurant/café represents a really positive opportunity to save the buildings and preserve a vital part of Barnstaple’s heritage.”

Among the work needed to transform the building is the installation of a new commercial kitchen and extraction system, reinstating windows and creating an ‘informal’ outdoor seating area on the grass overlooking the river and around the colonnade.

The restaurant has space for up to 80 seats spread over two halls, with table and bench seating. There are also plans for private booths and a ‘soft seating area’.

The building was last used as a heritage centre by Barnstaple Town Council, who leased the building from NDC.

It was closed in March 2016 as part of the town council’s five-year plan to make the town’s heritage available to a wider public audience.

The proposed restaurant is one of a number of ways North Devon Council (NDC), which began marketing the building early in 2017, hope to create a ‘vibrant and busy’ Strand.

The regeneration also includes a plan to lease the area between Bridge Chambers and Tea by the Taw and the building of a new footbridge linking the Strand with Anchorwood Bank