TORRIDGE District Council’s deputy leader says the retail study paints a “concerning” picture of the health of the Bideford area’s retail sector.
The figures show Barnstaple town centre retailers reel in about six times as much trade as Bideford traders and a recommendation made as a result of the study says 75 per cent of the floorspace “needed” over the next 20 years should be in Barnstaple.
“There has always been leakage from Bideford to Barnstaple,” said Councillor Roger Johnson.
Leakage describes people from Bideford leaving the town to spend their money.
“But it is way above average,” he said. “I do hope the Atlantic Village expansion helps reverse that trend because we want to see Torridge grow.
“It is a concern. We need Torridge to be vibrant.”
Andrew Austin, from North Devon Council’s planning policy team, agreed.
“We do need Bideford and Barnstaple to be complementary,” he said.