The Spatial Vision
Ilfracombe will be regenerated through a strategy of population growth, with a southern extension to the town providing employment opportunities, a new neighbourhood hub and a mix of high quality, sustainable family and affordable housing. Community driven regeneration of the town centre through high quality design, including improvements to the existing housing stock, and enhancement of the harbour and sea front will capitalise on the town’s built heritage, cultural assets, open spaces, high quality landscape, key habitats and coastal setting.
Tourism will be revitalised over an extended season with the town prospering as a maritime gateway for northern Devon and beyond. Opportunities for new maritime and leisure industries will be maximised, whilst safeguarding the harbour and seafront from rising sea levels and facilitating its continued operation as a port. Ilfracombe will become a vibrant, healthy, prosperous town providing for the needs of all with access to superfast broadband, workforce and business support and improved accessibility to training opportunities to improve both skills and business productivity with expanded employment opportunities at Mullacott Business Park.
Increased partnership working with ‘One Ilfracombe’ including other local organisations will deliver key services and facilities including through the community and voluntary sectors. The community will be empowered to make the most of its talents and leadership to deliver the vision.
The Spatial Development Strategy
Over the period to 2031, the Local Plan will enable growth of high quality development supported by necessary infrastructure to meet the needs of Ilfracombe. The spatial vision for Ilfracombe will be delivered through:
(a) provision of a minimum of 1,429 dwellings, including affordable and extra care homes, 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 935 dwellings and non-strategic housing sites of approximately 71 dwellings;
(c) an urban extension to the south of Ilfracombe including Worth Meadows (as part of the provision of new site allocations) to accommodate approximately 875 new family dwellings and a neighbourhood hub supported by required physical, social and green infrastructure;
(d) provision of additional employment land at Mullacott Business Park to enhance the town’s role as a strategically significant employment centre, together with approximately 1 hectare of land for employment and business uses within the neighbourhood hub of the strategic southern extension;
(e) economic growth through capitalising on enhanced levels of assistance offered by the Assisted Area status;
(f) support for initiatives, including innovative ways of promoting, procuring and delivering required affordable housing for Ilfracombe, including encouraging the refurbishment of existing buildings to meet needs on and off site where justified by robust and credible evidence of need;
(g) support for initiatives within and around the harbour and seafront areas to improve sea defences, mitigate against any adverse harm on bathing waters, revitalise key regeneration sites, provide opportunities for new tourism, marine, leisure and recreation facilities, and improve traffic management around the town;
(h) encouragement of higher spend niche markets to develop Ilfracombe’s tourism industry over an extended season;
(i) capitalising on opportunities for public art within the town to build on Verity’s legacy including development of Ilfracombe Academy as a ‘specialist’ arts school;
(j) social and community facilities required to support new development including increased primary school capacity, a children’s centre delivery base, early years and youth provision, additional sports pitches, allotments and extension to the existing cemetery;
(k) developments conserving and enhancing Ilfracombe’s historic environment and townscape quality and identity, safeguarding and enhancing the special character and appearance of the Conservation Area at risk of decline, reinforcing its distinctive character and sense of place, and respecting its landscape setting including the special landscape character and qualities of the adjoining Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty;
(l) enhancement of Ilfracombe’s transport infrastructure, as set out in the Transport Master Plan, secured through the continued support for a ‘park and change’ facility that reduces town centre congestion, accommodates more effectively through improved safety and capacity the vehicular traffic which is necessary for the town’s continued economic regeneration, and optimises accessibility to jobs, shops and community facilities within and around the town;
(m) improved public transport linkages from the town to the strategic rail network; and
(n) provision of additional water storage areas within development sites compared to normal Sustainable Drainage System design in recognition of Ilfracombe being within a Critical Drainage Area.