Information Pack


1. Barnstaple / The Strand
2. The Opportunity
3. The Site
4. Key Objectives
5. Land Ownership
6. Planning Context
7. Tender Process
8. Requirements
9. Evaluation Criteria
10. Deadline and Contacts
11. Background Documents

1. Barnstaple and The Strand

Barnstaple is located on the north coast of Devon on the Bristol Channel within the district of North Devon. The town is claimed to be the oldest borough in the UK, founded at the lowest crossing point of the River Taw.

As a sub-regional centre, Barnstaple has a strategic role for the provision of key services (health, education, leisure, retail) and employment within northern Devon. Much of the area’s future development is expected to be concentrated within Barnstaple. The town has expanded rapidly over recent years, with population growth exceeding both the district and county growth rates.

The impressive Taw River is one of the defining features of the town, which has a rich maritime history. Barnstaple’s wool was exported from the port and the town benefited greatly from growing trade with America in the 16th and 17th centuries. Many of the town’s impressive buildings and monuments are the legacies of wealthy merchants. Ship building has also been important to the town and in the C.16th Barnstaple contributed five ships to the force sent to fight the Spanish Armada. Up until World War II, the river was key to the success of Barnstaple, with boatyards on the river finally disappearing in the 1960s.

However, the town has since ‘turned its back’ to the river, which is no longer the main economic focus with commercial and retail areas centred on the High Street and in out of town developments. The riverfront areas, within which the Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon, and Barnstaple Heritage Centre are located, are today (Monday 20 March 2017) not fully connected or integrated into the town centre and have a forgotten feel to them; and development sites such as Anchorwood Bank present new residential and commercial opportunities with the risk of further reducing town centre footfall.

Yet, the river has great potential to become a significant asset to the town again. There are opportunities for Barnstaple to attract tourism and leisure spend by having a stronger ‘maritime heritage’ offer by building on Barnstaple’s historic strengths, by attracting new sympathetic uses and by opening up new river-based activities.

We would like to focus on these opportunities as a basis to generate wider economic and social benefits for the town and its residents.

2. The Opportunity

It has always been the ambition of North Devon Council to create a vibrant and busy leisure space along the Strand, making the most of the river frontage and historic architecture.

The area along The Strand is currently under-utilised and has the potential to offer much more. With the new development at Anchorwood Bank the town centre is shifting towards the river, and the area has the potential to be a real draw for those looking to eat, drink, relax and enjoy events in the town.

The Barnstaple Coastal Community Team echoed these sentiments based on the findings of their public consultation events. The Economic Plan created by the team highlights the importance of re-invigorating The Strand to support the Town Centre.

Another opportunity has also arisen to bring the Queen Anne Building back into use - potentially as a bar, café or restaurant. It is envisaged that the combination of the two opportunities will breathe new life into the Strand.

On this basis, North Devon Council has taken the decision to tender a lease on part of The Strand. The site offers an opportunity to deliver regeneration of part of Barnstaple’s riverfront through private sector involvement.

The aim of this project is to improve the space identified overleaf in order to encourage café culture in this area of the strand. The vision is for a more attractive area with improved protection from the weather. A permanent built structure is not envisaged. Non-permanent or anchored elements that improve the area visually and provide a more comfortable environment are felt to be the most appropriate solution and proposals centred on this approach are welcomed.

North Devon Council and Barnstaple Town Centre Management plan to support the scheme with public realm improvements:

  • Lights within the trees (underway)
  • Improvements to the planting on the remainder of the Strand using S106 POS contributions
  • Repainting the railings alongside the river Taw

3. The Site

The site is located towards the Southern end of The Strand, next to Tea on the Taw, the river walk, Bridge Chambers, and opposite The Watergate.

The site is located towards the Southern end of The Strand, next to Tea on the Taw, the river walk, Bridge Chambers, and opposite The Watergate

The site comprises a paved area with seating and a de-commissioned fountain (now filled and planted), and an area of grass planted with cherry trees.

There is a sundial on the site, which is listed and therefore would need to be protected.

The site is within the conservation area, and is the location of the old fish market, so consideration would need to be given to the heritage of the site and its position within the conservation area.

The land is owned by North Devon Council, who would be looking to retain ownership, and to lease the land to the successful bidder.

4. Key Objectives

The following are the agreed key objectives for the site, driven by the Barnstaple Coastal Community Team Economic Plan. The objectives are listed in order of importance and will form part of the selection process where they will be weighted accordingly and used to assess the submissions from interested parties.

a) Any enhancements of the site should create an outdoor / all weather space to improve Barnstaple’s leisure and tourism opportunities.
b) Enhancements should increase the number of visitors to the Riverfront area and their dwell time, leading to new business and employment opportunities.
c) Proposals should be commercially sustainable and support business growth and employment opportunities
d) Any proposed enhancements should be aesthetically pleasing and contribute to the image and identity of Barnstaple, and the conservation area. Reference to the old fish market would be desirable.
e) Public access to the site should be retained where possible

As mentioned at section 2, a permanent built structure is not envisaged here.

5. Land Ownership

The subject land is owned by North Devon Council and forms part of the registered title DN664366.

The final extent of the land that forms the basis of lease will be shown as part of the contract documents. The outline shown here is for guidance.

A public right of way runs along the south west side of the land, following the line of the river, and should not be affected by any plans for the site.

6. Planning Context

The site lies within a Conservation Area and proposals will therefore be assessed against the Local Plan Policies which seek to preserve or enhance the appearance of the area.

It will be the responsibility of the successful bidder to obtain the necessary planning consents for the site.

7. Tender Process and Timescale

This will be a two-stage process. Expressions of Interest (EoI) are being sought to gauge the interest in the site.

Following the receipt and assessment of the EoI, those applicants whose proposals fulfil the above criteria will be invited to submit a full tender.

The full tender should include a detailed description of the use of the site, a business plan, and scaled drawings including plans and elevations.

The timings for the process are as follows:

Date Activity
16/03/2017 Opportunity advertised / EoI invited
20/04/2017 Deadline for EoI – to be submitted by 12pm

Preferred bidders notified / invited to prepare full tender

Tender documents published / distributed to preferred bidders

18/05/2017 Closing date for tenders – to be submitted by 12pm
25/05/2017 Successful bidder notified

8. Requirements

Please provide a proposal (EoI) to North Devon Council by 20th April 2017 (midday).

This should include details of your proposed enhancement to the area, how you will deliver it, and by when.

You should also provide details of any annual rental figure you propose. This may include rental payments structured over time to reflect the enhancements you propose. Value for money is an evaluation criteria, so if you are proposing to do this the cost of delivering your proposal should be included.

Your proposal should not exceed 1000 words.

Drawings and plans are welcomed.

If you have an idea, and you’re not sure if it meets the criteria, or if you have any other questions about anything contained in this document – please do not hesitate to contact the team using the contact details below.

9. Evaluation Criteria

Proposals will be evaluated against the following criteria:

Criteria Weighting
Proposal encourages café culture and increased dwell time 25%
Proposal is commercially sustainable and supports economic growth 20%
Proposal contributes to the visual enhancement of the Strand 20%
Value for money 25%
Realistic delivery method and timescale 10%

10. Deadline and Contacts

The deadline for proposals (EoI) to be submitted is 20 April 2017.

Proposals should be emailed to

Contact details for enquiries:

Vanessa Harrison 01271 388216
Ellen Vernon 01271 388368

11.Background Documents

Barnstaple Coastal Community Team Economic Plan – The Strand