Improving Barnstaple’s flood defences to unlock regeneration

Pilton Park, under water

Posted on: 5 September 2016

A study commissioned by North Devon Council shows how flood defence work could unlock prime redevelopment land in Barnstaple.

The report by JBA Consulting, carried out in partnership with Devon County Council and the Environment Agency, looks at the river frontages in the Braunton Road/Mill Road area and includes potential improvements to Pilton Park which regularly floods.

At a meeting of the Executive Committee today (5 September 2016), councillors approved plans to carry out a ‘masterplanning’ exercise for Pilton Park which will involve the local community and other stakeholders. Realigning the River Yeo to run alongside Pilton Causeway, is included in the options to consider.

Members also agreed to engage with landowners in the Mill Road area to look at how a similar exercise could be carried out there.

The idea is to secure sites for the long-term regeneration of Barnstaple town centre by freeing up key areas for redevelopment that are currently ‘blighted’ by future flood risk. It would also protect existing homes and businesses.

Lead Member for Regeneration Cllr Pat Barker says: “Barnstaple has so much potential for fabulous development along its riverfront but the threat of flooding means it can’t currently happen. This innovative study looks at ways of unlocking Barnstaple’s future and I’m excited that we may have found a way forward.”

Devon County Council contributed half of the funding for the study and provided professional expertise. Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member with responsibility for flood prevention says: “This study shows real forethought and planning for the town’s future. It will mean better protection for residential and commercial properties in areas of Barnstaple that are at risk of flooding due to climate change, and it’ll make available new opportunities for development.  We’re very pleased to be part of the plans.”

Local ward member for Pilton Cllr Mair Manuel says: “I would be very pleased with any developments that improved the safety of local residents in Pilton and Bradiford as many properties lie in the flood zone currently. Businesses and business opportunities for local people would follow as well.”

Local ward member for Pilton Cllr Brian Greenslade says: “This is a positive sign of potential future flood risk to Barnstaple being addressed. As far as the Pilton area is concerned, it’s good news that something has to be done before 2050 but there is much of Barnstaple that is at risk from future flooding levels, we really must push for the whole of the town to be given flood alleviation priority at the earliest date possible.”

The plans are long-term and are intended to be in place by 2050.

Councillors also agreed today to look at commissioning a similar study of the town centre and Strand area.

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Posted in: Environment | Planning