The Spatial Vision
Strategic housing and employment growth on the southern side of Barnstaple will support the town’s economy by attracting inward investment to deliver key infrastructure and strengthen the town’s lead role as a vibrant and innovative Sub-regional Centre in commerce, culture, education and service provision for northern Devon.
Barnstaple will develop as an exemplar of sustainable living to become a healthier, safer and more prosperous town with an attractive and inclusive environment that protects the town’s historic character whilst capitalising on its built heritage. The town centre will be revitalised and expanded to promote a healthy and vibrant town centre to support its vitality, viability and economic prosperity, including a vibrant and diverse evening economy. Petroc will be expanded as a university level resource with links to local businesses to improve both skills level and business productivity with access to superfast broadband, workforce and business support and increased accessibility to training opportunities and expanded employment opportunities at Roundswell Business Park and Whiddon Valley.
Housing and employment growth will deliver a mix of high quality, sustainable family and affordable housing integrated with new employment opportunities and key community infrastructure that promote greater self-sufficiency. Improved access to and dual use of community facilities will provide for the needs of all. Development will also prioritise the re-use of existing buildings and previously developed land whilst safeguarding these areas from the risks of flooding and protecting the green hills around the town. An enhanced network of green infrastructure including new public open spaces, public footpaths and cycleway links to the Tarka Trail will permeate the town. Traffic management and accessible public transport initiatives will retain and extend bus services to surrounding communities, improve the rail service to Exeter and beyond and reduce need for short journeys by private car.
The historic town will capitalise on its built heritage, cultural assets, open spaces and wildlife habitats to promote healthier lifestyles, enhance its distinctive identity, maximise the potential of its waterfront and public spaces, retain and improve access to existing community facilities.
Effective co-operation with partners will deliver key services and facilities including through the community and voluntary sectors. The empowered community will make the most of its talents and leadership to deliver the vision, with all residents able to contribute to and participate in community life.
The Spatial Development Strategy
Over the period to 2031, the Local Plan will enable substantial growth of high quality development supported by necessary infrastructure to meet the needs of Barnstaple and its surrounding area and to strengthen Barnstaple’s role as a Sub-regional Centre. The spatial vision for Barnstaple will be delivered through:
(a) provision of a minimum of 4,139 dwellings, including affordable and extra care housing to meet the range of the communities housing needs, with associated development and infrastructure on a continuous basis during the Plan period between 2011 and 2031;
(b) provision of new site allocations of approximately 3,165 dwellings and non-strategic housing sites of approximately 153 dwellings;
(c) strategic extensions to the south and south-east of Barnstaple (as part of the provision of new site allocations) to accommodate approximately 1,770 new dwellings supported by required physical, social and green infrastructure including a new primary school on each site;
(d) provision of approximately 21.6 hectares of land for economic development that promote entrepreneurship in the town and deliver suitable start-up space for new businesses and grow-on space for existing businesses to relocate supported by required physical, social and green infrastructure;
(e) redevelopment of previously developed sites including those at risk of flooding where effective flood management can reduce the extent and severity of flood risks both on site and elsewhere in the Taw estuary;
(f) enhancement of existing flood defences and associated flood risk mitigation measures to help realise the potential for appropriate development of sites at risk of flooding;
(g) expansion of the town centre to enhance the town’s vitality and viability and strengthen its role as a Sub-regional Centre for retail, commercial, community, leisure and cultural activities;
(h) expansion of Petroc as a university level resource with improved links to local businesses to improve both skill levels and business productivity within northern Devon;
(i) economic growth through capitalising on enhanced levels of assistance offered by the Assisted Area status;
(j) provision of accessible natural green spaces to enhance the green infrastructure network adjoining the Taw estuary to deliver a net gain in biodiversity and provide betterment in addressing flood risks by reducing rates of surface water runoff;
(k) provision of additional strategic footpaths and cycle routes through and around the town to extend the green infrastructure network and improve opportunities for sustainable modes of travel and healthy living;
(l) protection of the green hilltops around the town that contribute to Barnstaple’s setting and character and retention of the open land between the town and surrounding villages to help maintain their separate identities;
(m) provision of additional sport and recreation facilities, including opportunities for water sports along the Taw estuary;
(n) improvements to capacity at existing road junctions along the A39 and A361;
(o) social and community facilities required to support new development including enhanced primary and secondary provision through delivery of new schools and the expansion of existing schools and improved early years and youth provision within Barnstaple;
(p) provision of additional water storage areas within development sites to the east and west of the River Taw compared to normal sustainable drainage system design in recognition that the southern half of Barnstaple is within a Critical Drainage Area; and
(q) support for initiatives to improve and mitigate against any adverse harm to water quality in the rivers and estuary.