Sale of Bideford's Brunswick Wharf completed

An artist's impression of the Brunswick Wharf development

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

Torridge District Council have confirmed the completion of sale of the derelict Brunswick Wharf site to Red Earth Developments. 

The £20million plus plans to redevelop the dilapidated wharves at East the Water are already moving forward, marking ‘the most significant development Bideford will have seen for many years’. 

The former 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. 

An artist's impression of the Brunswick Wharf development

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

Councillor Ken James, leader of Torridge District Council said: “We look forward to the commencement of works on this key site in the heart of Bideford. The transformation of this redundant plot will hopefully deliver a good mix of quality homes and public spaces, plus other amenities for Bideford and the surrounding areas. 

“We have handed over the delivery of this project to Red Earth and will continue to contribute and support them where needed. We also hope that the construction phase will be a boost to the local economy and job prospects.” 

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Talks are already taking place with prospective restaurant operators for the signature restaurant adjoining the bridge and other independent retailers for the units around the public square. 

Red Earth’s Simon Friend commented, “We are delighted to be underway with this long-awaited project. Torridge residents have been overwhelmingly supportive of our vision to transform a currently bleak and under-utilised area into a vibrant new heart for the community.”   

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Confirming that time-lapse footage is already in place to record the progress of the scheme, Simon Friend said: “Ground investigations have been carried out to determine the foundation designs, with demolition works, including asbestos removal, due to start shortly. The process will continue with architect and other consultants working through the complex design process over the next few months and we’ll be looking at the main on-site construction work starting next summer.” 

Red Earth have attempted to collaborate with the local community and interested parties throughout the design and planning stages. Simon Friend said: “Community has always been at the heart of our plans. I want to ensure that these proposals will be delivered, so that the new wharves become a place that Bideford will be proud of. 

“This will help regenerate our area on so many levels. Over the last couple of years, we’ve had helpful discussions with the Way of the Wharves Group, The Burton at Bideford, the local Women’s Institute, Devon History Society, The North Devon Biosphere, Bideford Bay Chamber of Commerce, Bideford Bay Creatives and many others.” 

The developers are also funding a year-long project for The Burton at Bideford, aimed at promoting creativity on behalf of local charity, Encompass. Their ‘Women First’ project supports women who are rough sleeping, sofa surfing or living in temporary accommodation. 

Ian Danby, Director at the gallery said: “Red Earth has enabled these sessions to be free, and to include access to an artist/facilitator as well as the Burton’s high-quality arts facilities. For those who have often experiencing traumatic physical and emotional situations, and without secure accommodation, it is a chance to explore their creative talents.” 

The Brunswick Wharf development will include a full public art commissioning process will be launched later this year, when artisans will have their opportunity to make their mark on the project. 

Simon Friend added: “This site has been the centre of great creativity since ships were first built here in 1565 and we want to celebrate that tradition of making things by involving local crafts people. The new Brunswick Wharf will also see the construction of five design studios for local artists and artisans.” 

The whole project is set for completion by 2025.

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