Traders’ joy over street scaffolding

Joseph Bulmer

Plans to demolish two properties could spell the end for ‘unsightly’ scaffolding

FED up traders have welcomed plans to remove scaffolding that has blighted their street for nearly two years.

Proposals to demolish two dilapidated shops in Joy Street have been submitted to North Devon Council planners.

If approved, owners British Land, who bought the adjoining Green Lanes Shopping Centre for �30million in February this year, would knock down 22 and 23 Joy Street and erect hoarding around the demolished properties.

The company said it hoped to replace them with new retail units in the “near future”.

In January 2010, the Gazette first reported how the scaffolding, which protrudes about two feet into the road and blocks the pavement, was having a detrimental effect on trade.

In October last year, traders drew up a petition to get the scaffolding removed but at the time, council planners said that any plans to demolish the building would only be approved if a replacement scheme was designed and a contractor appointed.

Artstore owner Gerry Fry, who has led a call for action, said the plan to demolish the buildings was “a step in the right direction”.

He said: “We’ve waited two years for that scaffolding to be removed to the detriment of our street and at last something is happening.”

In a planning and heritage statement submitted on behalf of British Land as part of their planning application, the buildings were described as being in “a very poor structural condition”.

One of the buildings, formerly Henry’s Restaurant, is currently vacant and the other is currently occupied by Vacation World.

Neither building is listed although the plans require special consent as they fall within the Barnstaple Town Centre Conservation Area.