New town centre hub for Barnstaple backed by councillors

An impression of how the town centre hub in Green Lanes will look

Plans for a new North Devon Council hub in Barnstaple town centre have been backed by councillors.

The council will expand its face-to-face customer service offering by relocating to a vacant unit at Green Lanes Shopping Centre.

The new hub will give the council a more visible presence in the town centre in an area with more footfall and passing trade. It will allow the council to extend its face-to-face opening hours to Monday to Friday, 9am until 5pm, and the new hub will have working spaces which will enable staff from various council services to assist customers where needed.

Devon and Cornwall Police have also provided a commitment to occupy the premises alongside the council on a daily basis, allowing town centre visitors the chance to speak with officers from Barnstaple's Neighbourhood Policing Team.

The council's strategy and resources committee agreed to fund the infrastructure costs to ready the unit with £220,000 from its Transformation Reserve.

Leader of North Devon Council, Councillor Ian Roome, says: "This town centre hub is an opportunity for us to increase our presence in the heart of Barnstaple and make it even easier for our residents and customers to get help and assistance, all while revitalising a vacant unit in Green Lanes Shopping Centre.  The hub will enhance our current offering with interactive spaces for customers, desk space for officers from services which have the most regular customer interactions, and meeting rooms for customers discussing sensitive topics.

"We are excited to be able to share this space with the police and further strengthen our relationship with our local officers as we continue to work in partnership to make Barnstaple and North Devon as a whole a place where people can feel safe and be enjoyed by everyone."

Sector Inspector for Barnstaple, Inspector Andy Wills, says: "Recognising it’s our busiest area, our town centre Neighbourhood Policing Team work hard to provide a visible and proactive, yet familiar presence there. This is what the public rightly expect.

"There are also many aspects of our work which require access to desk based IT, with report writing and file preparation being vitally important parts of our jobs;  and we’re currently often unable to complete this without returning to the police station. The Town Centre Hub will give an alternative in our busiest locality, improving access and connectivity with the community, and further developing our working relationship and interoperability with North Devon Council’s Community Safety colleagues. It’s set to be a fantastic development for our town and our service."

The unit in Green Lanes has been unoccupied since the council purchased the shopping centre in 2021 and had not received commercial interest despite being actively marketed.

The council currently provides face-to-face customer services at Lynton House in Commercial Road on Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays from 9am until 1pm, providing help and assistance to customers across our services for those who are unable to use online or phone contact.