Community asked to help improve Barnstaple town centre
19 October 2021
North Devon Council and partner organisations have been busy making improvements to Barnstaple town centre - and are asking residents and businesses to join their shared pledge to ensure it is a clean, safe and pleasant place to be.
The council says it is continually working on interventions to improve Barnstaple town centre, which includes close collaboration with Barnstaple Town Centre Management (TCM), Barnstaple in Bloom and Barnstaple Town Council. All partners have a shared aim to look after and enhance the town centre for the enjoyment of residents, visitors and businesses alike. They say everyone has a responsibility to do the same; including taking personal responsibility for the litter they produce.
The council's Neighbourhood Officers have recently taken their #LitterLess campaign to the areas of the town identified as littering hotspots, such as Castle Mound and Library Square. The team say that, whilst they have handed out a number of Fixed Penalty Notices for littering offences, their primary aim is to educate people about the environmental harm that can be caused by litter, especially cigarette butts.
Town centre businesses have backed the work of the council's Neighbourhood Officers, with many already providing cigarette butt receptacles and regularly cleaning up the areas immediately outside their premises - and the team is asking others to do the same. They also work closely with other council services to identify and target problem areas, such as the dedicated street cleaner who operates in the town centre five days a week.
The work carried out by council officers has been bolstered by partner organisations like Barnstaple in Bloom, volunteers from which have carried out a number of clean-ups in the town centre in recent months. The community group has been supported by the councils and Barnstaple TCM to brighten up the town with flowers and volunteers have also de-weeded, cleaned and litter-picked in parts of the town centre that were in need of attention. The achievements of the group were recognised as they won two awards in this year’s South West in Bloom competition.
Barnstaple Town Council has also played its part in improving the town centre, with its team of Town Rangers who have carried out weed control, grass cutting and litter picking, refurbished High Street benches, provided and maintained planters on Boutport Street and hanging baskets on the Guildhall, amongst other interventions. The Town Council has also worked together with Barnstaple in Bloom on various projects, such as river cleans and clearing green waste for volunteers.
Lead Member for Economic Development and Regeneration at North Devon Council, Councillor Malcolm Prowse says: "We are proud of the work we carry out as a council to constantly improve and clean up Barnstaple. We have put a huge amount of investment into the town, both in terms of the time, efforts and energy of our own officers and those of our partners, but also financially. Most recently, we were successful in securing 69% of the £9.45m we bid for through the Government's Future High Streets Fund, and have borrowed the shortfall, which will lead to a multi-million pound transformational project in the town.
"We are really committed to making the wonderful town of Barnstaple the best it can be, and we hope that the public and businesses will continue to work with us to ensure the town is somewhere we can all be really proud of."
Town Clerk at Barnstaple Town Council, Rob Ward says: "The town council is acutely aware of the need to make the town centre a welcoming place for people to visit. We work with the district and county councils to help keep the High Street and surrounding area as safe, clean and tidy as possible and to support the local businesses to thrive and attract customers and visitors to the town.
“The opportunity to support the Barnstaple in Bloom group of volunteers this year has enabled us to further improve the appearance of the town and plans for next year look like the town is going to take another great step forward. We are so proud to have been able to support the group who achieved two awards in this year’s South West in Bloom competition.”
The Barnstaple Vision, adopted by the council in 2020, recognised the challenges and opportunities facing the town. The council says the Future High Street Fund investment, together the work it already carries out, shows its dedication to Barnstaple town centre - but there is more to come. In a further demonstration of its commitment to working with partners to improve the town centre, the council has set up the Barnstaple Regeneration Board; a group of key partners who will help bring forward and steer a number of the opportunities identified in the Vision. The council says the implementation of the Vision which will require collaboration from all users of the town and it will continue to engage with residents, businesses and other stakeholders to achieve this.
More information on the future vision for Barnstaple, including the Future High Streets Fund projects, is available on North Devon Council's website. Residents can follow the work of Barnstaple in Bloom and get involved through the Barnstaple In Bloom website and Facebook page. Further information about Barnstaple Town Council is available on their website.