Barnstaple makes bid for Future High Street fund

Posted on: 15 March 2019

A new fund to revitalise High Streets across the UK opens this month and Barnstaple is making a bid for its share.

North Devon Council is working alongside Barnstaple Town Centre Management (BTCM) to apply for the government’s Future High Streets Fund, which has been set up to regenerate high streets and make them fit for the future. The first round of applications opens on 22 March and the council will be submitting its strategic vision for the town centre, taking on board ideas put forward at the BTCM meeting last week.

Councils across the country will be submitting similar bids and not everyone will be selected. However, if the initial bid is successful and Barnstaple gets through to the second stage of the process, there will be a wider consultation with local businesses and residents of the town to ensure the vision meets the needs and aspirations of the local community.

Matthew Brend, Chair of Barnstaple Town Centre Management says: “We all know that our town centre is evolving. Unprecedented changes in shopping habits and the retail landscape mean that we need to think about what function we want our town centre to play in the future. Barnstaple Town Centre has traditionally been the heart of our community, the place where people come to meet and socialise but with the changes in retail and lifestyles we need to ensure that there are still reasons for people to come and spend time in the town and ensure that it remains at the heart for generations to come. BTCM look forward to playing a local leadership role in delivering real change”.

Hannah Harrington, Barnstaple Town Centre Manager says: “The Future High Streets Fund is an exciting opportunity that could help us turn our visions into reality. This is an initial stage in a very competitive process and Barnstaple will be up against a large number of other towns, who will all produce their own proposals however we believe we have a strong vision and our own unique set of circumstances which will hopefully make our bid successful”.

North Devon Council’s Executive Member for Economic Regeneration, says: “This is an excellent opportunity for Barnstaple and any regeneration of North Devon’s largest town will also have a massive knock-on effect on the whole of the district. The High Street Fund isn’t about drawing down money to make the place look pretty, its for bold new visions, projects that will transform High Streets and make them fit for the future.”

If you would like to join Barnstaple Town Centre Management and put your forward your ideas for the town, contact Hannah Harrington (hannah@barnstaple.co.uk).

2 comments on “Barnstaple makes bid for Future High Street fund

  1. Neal Carter says:

    The town centre needs to be the hub and life centre for all ages in our community. Currently it is losing its personality, we’ve all changed our shopping habits over the years which has impacted negatively on the retail within the town. How do you now bring back the shops?.. The rents need to be reduced to help rather than hinder future investment in retail. Barnstaple’s now becoming a town for predominantly charity shops and cafe’s. The future of the town centre needs to focus on the needs of all in society, young and old. Could there be opportunity to bring both leisure, retail, pleasure, and community resources into the hub of the town? I.e. the new gym at the end of the high street. The Councils have also shot themselves in the foot by extortionate car parking fees and unnecessary ticketing cars even on Sundays!! If you want to encourage people into the town then the car parking issue is right up there as a main problem. We are a rural community with a reliance on our cars due to poor public transport, unlike cities. The park and ride was closed due to costs of running the bus services, again this could help envigorate the town. What about a ‘life centre’ providing services to all as a one stop shop helping the elderly, homeless, young people with mental health, new parents, carers. This could gain sponsorship from local businesses. There could be clothing and food banks all within too, run as a cooperative to support unemployed people get back on their feet and improve socialisation for all. Also meeting rooms for hire to help meet costs. We really need to think laterally when considering how to reinvigorate our town centres; the old fashioned shopping town centres are a thing of the past. Is there also going to be a foot bridge over the river to the new site?… I think this definitely needs to happen to help link the two.

    • Mair says:

      Thanks for your comments Neal, I’ll send them on to our Barnstaple Town Centre Manager. In the event that we get through to the second stage of the funding process, we will carry out more public engagement and consultation to capture everyone’s views. Many thanks, MS

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