About our Future High Streets Fund projects
The projects we have developed following consultation with local people and our business community seek to enhance both the quality of the town centre experience and the variety of offer, improving access via all modes of transport. This will unlock significant social and economic benefits.
We have ambitious plans to transform the town through the creation of a new destination in the heart of Barnstaple. The projects focus on the ‘Markets Quarter’ and there are four strands to the project:
Pannier Market, Guildhall, former abattoir
This strand involves the repurposing and diversification of the market into a flexible space for a more diverse and ambitious programme of markets, events and community gatherings. A new gateway through the market to the derelict abattoir will create additional studio space and further opportunities.
Boutport Street Development
This involves the development of workspace and town centre living: acquisition, restoration and rebuild of the properties into an exemplar mixed-use development and creating a vital pedestrian gateway to the town.
Queen Street access
This project involves the delineation and upgrade of an access into the Queen Street car park from the main arterial route and the redesigned layout of the car park to improve legibility to the town.
Butchers’ Row and Cross Street
This strand involves the permanent pedestrianisation of the most distinctive street in our town leading to increased footfall, allowing traders to spill onto the street and connecting the historic core to our river front.
The town centre has many strengths and positive qualities: it has a rich history and heritage and a beautiful landscape setting, and it continues to provide valuable commercial, cultural and civic services for the community. But, like other towns of its size and type, Barnstaple is showing the effects of the pressures facing the retail sector and the combined impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic. These trends are reflected in an acceleration of the decline in footfall, increase in vacant shops and poorly maintained and derelict properties.
This is a familiar story, but Barnstaple’s particular frailties have been highlighted by the Covid-19 pandemic and it has been listed as 1 of the 20 hardest hit small towns in the country, given the economy’s high dependency on tourism and retail.
In framing its response to the challenges facing Barnstaple town centre, we have been working with a wide range of local stakeholders and partners to develop a compelling vision for the future of Barnstaple town centre. Our FHSF allocation will contribute to our ambitious and wide-ranging vision by enabling a programme of short to medium-term transformational improvements in the town centre by revitalising the ‘Market Quarter’ to form a townscape ensemble of exceptional quality.