Square facelift to start after holiday season

Joseph Bulmer

Work on new Bideford ‘gateway’ to get under way in September

WORK on enhancements to the prominent Jubilee Square and Manor Car Park area on Bideford’s town frontage is scheduled to start in September and last for around three months.

It had been proposed to start earlier, but the work has been delayed by the part Bideford is to play in next month’s Atlantic Watersports Games, which could bring thousands of people to the town, and by the main holiday season.

Proposed works for adjacent Cooper Street, with a feature archway connecting the two areas, will now form phase two of the regeneration project.

At Bideford Town Council on Thursday, councillor Andy Powell said the work in Cooper Street was being held up by the cost of a pedestrian order, which he had been told was �10,000.

“I find this unbelievable,” he said. “I would like to find out how they justify this, because that has basically stopped that work going forward.

“I understand these orders can cover one street, or even a whole town and, as there are orders pending for one or two other small streets, I wonder if Cooper Street could be added to that. This is for the benefit of the community and the future economic growth of the town.”

Peter Quincy, of regeneration group North Devon+, said that Cooper Street was the original area put forward for enhancement, but, following extensive consultations, Jubilee Square was identified as in more need and attention had been refocused on this.

“The consultation highlighted Jubilee Square as a blight on the town and work there will give Bideford more of a formal town square,” he said.

“There are few places at the moment for people to congregate, take a seat and socialise, and it will also provide for market traders and events. It will provide a civic amenity space.”

With Torridge District Council having money set aside for improvements to the Manor car park, they were able to put the two together and benefit from economy of scale, said Mr Quincy.

Cooper Street traders wanted them to look at pedestrianisation, he said. The cost was high, but it had not been forgotten. It had been decided to get the Jubilee Square project delivered first and then focus on Cooper Street.

The regeneration project is a joint venture between North Devon+, the county, district and town councils, with major funding from Bideford Bridge Trust.