A TINY street in the centre of Barnstaple could become the town’s new “eatery quarter” with new restaurants and cafes flocking to open there – but only if the area is tidied up.
Maiden Street has been hailed as the restaurant quarter of the town by restaurant owners who are now putting pressure on North Devon Council to tidy the area up.
Currently the small street holds around half a dozen eateries, and links the Strand, Boutport Street and the High Street, but is often cluttered with industrial waste bins and blocked by unloading vans.
But Geoff Morton, owner of Fat Belly Fred’s fish restaurant, which is soon relocating from Boutport Street to Maiden Street, said because of this, the area isn’t fulfilling its full potential.
“We look at roads like Gammon and Holland Walk that are pretty and pedestrianised with space for people to sit outside and enjoy a coffee, and see no reason why Maiden Street cannot achieve this too.
“It’s in the perfect location and with more and more restaurants and cafes coming to the area, it will soon become peoples first stop for eating in the town.”
Owners of Brams Cafe, Amy Hartwell and Gina Copus, who only opened the cafe at the end of August agree.
Amy said: “We love the feel of it here and we already have a lot of regular customers, people have called us Barnstaple’s hidden gem.
“But what we don’t want is for people to be put off coming down Maiden Street because of the bins and the blocking vans.
“There is no regulation with parking, and because every has their own bins, it’s always cluttered.
“What we need is a smaller amount of shared bins that are emptied more regularly.
“With Tesco’s just over the bridge, and Asda due to come, the influx of people heading to this area of the town is going to increase drastically and we don’t want them to miss our business because these factors.”
Leader of North Devon Council Councillor Brian Greenslade, met with concerned parties and town centre manager Craig Bulley this afternoon, to discuss possible solutions for the area.
“We are very keen to introduce a cultural quarter in Barnstaple,” Mr Greenslade said. “And I think that Maiden Street will definitely be a part of that.
“Despite my girth, I must say I did not realise just how many eateries there are here.
“I think the idea of shared bins could work well here, and we could consider putting up a bollard at either end of the road to help with parking.”
Mr Greenslade said that he would go away and arrange a meeting in three to four weeks for all the concerned parties to discuss ideas further.
Geoff said he was happy with the outcome of the meeting.
“It seems everyone wants the same things and sees the potential of the area, including the council.
“And Councillor Greenslade said he could arrange a meeting within four weeks, which means we can hopefully get the ball rolling quickly.”