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Councillors' plan to buy wharves to develop

By North Devon Journal  |  Posted: February 28, 2013

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A PLAN to transform some of the Bideford wharves into a development of apartments, cafes, restaurants and shops may be put on hold now that Bideford Town Council could buy the site.

Bideford town councillors Peter Christie and David Brenton are due to put a proposal to the rest of the council at a meeting tonight which calls for the town council to purchase the East-the-Water wharves from current owners Torridge District Council.

TDC has been working on a scheme to develop the currently disused riverside site since 2011.

The site, which includes Brunswick Wharf, has not been used as a working wharf since the 1970s.

TDC has conducted a public consultation on the site and has also narrowed down who might develop it to just one preferred developer, who they are yet to reveal.

But now all those plans could be scrapped if BTC agree to make an offer to TDC and take on the ownership.

Mr Brenton said initially the plan would be to tidy the area up and knock down the existing buildings opening it up for public use allowing time to then decide what long term use the site will have

The idea first came about last year when the town council was given a presentation showing what the prospective scheme for the wharves looks like. He said: "This is not what the people of Bideford want.

"It is quite short sighted to have lock up shops on the site, we have that the other side of the river and there are enough empty shops that side.

"That can't be seen as regeneration. Another problem with having accommodation there is the noise pollution created by the working port.

"People who move in will have a right to complain against the noise nuisance which could put the port at risk of closing. We can't let that happen.

"We have got to look long term at this proposal. Once you have built on that land it will be lost. I haven't met anyone in favour of the proposed development."

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