The future of Barnstaple - you can have your say

North Devon Gazette

North Devon Council is just starting a further consultation concerning the proposed improvements to the town centre of Barnstaple.  Â

This is a great opportunity for everyone to have their say about a series of projects, which are being planned to renew and reshape Barnstaple’s town centre. Part of the finance for these schemes will be from the Future High Streets Fund (FHSF) programme and the rest from North Devon Council. Â

The aim is to improve everyone’s experience of the town, drive growth and ensure future sustainability. It is massively important for the future of Barnstaple and we need to get it right, as it is a once in a lifetime opportunity.  Â

So, consequently, the council wants to know what North Devon's residents think about what is being planned. Everyone’s opinion is valued and important. To understand your perspective, we are running a six-week consultation from Friday, 21st January until Friday, 4th March, and would appreciate it if you are able to participate. Â

To launch the consultation, the Market Quarter project team are inviting residents to learn more at the Barnstaple Pannier Market on Friday, 21st January. They will be in attendance from 10am until 3.30pm to answer any questions and explain the concepts of what is currently being planned.  Â

Then, from Monday, 24th January, information boards will be on display in the Green Lanes Shopping Centre along with the surveys we would like you to complete. If you are unable to attend in person, the survey and the information will also be available on the council website at  Â

The creation of the ‘Market Quarter’ has four distinct strands, involving the Pannier Market, Boutport Street, Queen Street car park and Butchers Row/Cross Street.Â

With regard to the Pannier Market, it is proposed to make it into a more flexible space which will allow an ambitious and varied programme involving markets, events and community gatherings.Â

In Boutport Street, it is planned to renovate and restore numbers 36/37 which will involve an exciting mixed-use development of workspace and town centre living. It will also allow the creation of a vital pedestrian link to one of the main town car parks.Â

The Queen Street car park will have improved vehicular access and by redesigning the layout of the car park, it will create a pedestrian pathway into the centre of the town. Also, the proposals include pedestrianising Butchers Row and Cross Street (from 10am to 4pm) to connect the historic core of Barnstaple to the river front. If implemented, it will also allow traders to spill onto the street, so that visitors will be able to eat and drink al fresco.Â

That’s a quick flavour of the ideas that have been developed as a result of consulting councillors, local people, businesses and partner organisations and taking expert advice.  Â

NDC last year appointed a design team, including Oxford Architects, Method Ltd (Mechanical & Engineering) and Clarkebond (Structural Engineering). These companies, together with the separately appointed Gates (Quantity Surveyors) and Currie & Brown (Project Management), will help bring about the vision for Barnstaple. Â

The initial concept designs for these four strands have resulted from key stakeholder feedback and specialist surveys but now you have the opportunity of assisting in helping to develop these further.  Â

Hopefully, we will then be in a position to apply for planning permission in a few months. This is a large investment for a council of our size of nearly £11,000,000, so it needs to be right - please assist us by having a look and expressing your views.Â

As leader of the Council, I am very excited at the prospect of these changes but I don’t want us to go ahead and spend a lot of money on something which could have been better if only we had thought of it. Now is the time for you to voice your opinion and help our team. Thank you.Â