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Wharves site could become open space

By North Devon Journal  |  Posted: March 07, 2013

NEW PLAN: Torridge District Council is looking into turning Brunswick Wharf into open space. Picture: Mike Southon. To order this photograph call 0844 4060 269 and quote Ref: BNMS20120313A-008_C

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A SERIES of wharves in Bideford could become an open space instead of a mixed use development now that Bideford Town Council has decided to look into buying the site.

At a town council meeting on Thursday last week, councillors agreed to approach Torridge District Council (TDC), the current owners of the East-the-Water wharves site, to discuss buying the site from them.

TDC has been working on a development scheme for the site for the past two years.

A developer has now been selected to turn the derelict wharves into a mixture of apartments, shops and restaurants.

But the scheme could now be scrapped if the town council buy it to turn it into an open community space.

Councillors Peter Christie and David Brenton put the proposal to the council.

Mr Brenton said at the meeting: "We have got to grasp this with both hands. Have a bit of courage for heaven's sake.

"The only reason TDC are doing this is because they want it cleared up. No one has come up to me and said, 'what a great idea'.

"Once it is built on, that is it. Is this what we want, for future generations to say we let that happen?"

Councillors passed the motion by nine votes to six, despite the majority of councillors approving the motion several disagreed with it.

Councillor Tony Inch said: "TDC has gone out to consultation on this, where have these councillors been? If they had been around then they would have come up with this plan before.

"With TDC's development there will be employment, there will be a walkway. This will be a big asset to Bideford. This is what Bideford needs."

Councillor Andy Powell added: "The proposal on the table at the moment is questionable.

"At least with Torridge's proposal it is someone else's problem.

"Crucially this is a very unclear specification."

Calls for a business plan to be drawn up on the site were made but Mr Christie said: "You have supported the proposal so we can even approach the asset management board at Torridge. I sit on the board so I know how it works."

TDC confirmed on Tuesday that they had not yet been formally approached by Bideford Town Council.

They did not comment further.

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