Barnstaple is one step closer to seeing some major improvements to the town centre after North Devon Council was provisionally allocated £6.5m from the government's Future High Streets Fund.

The £1billion national fund, led by the Ministry for Housing Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), is designed to be used to renew and reshape town centres and high streets across the country through transformational schemes to improve experience, drive growth and ensure future sustainability.

The council's Economic Development team had applied for a £9 million share of the fund to kick start four projects to transform the town into a place that provides residents not only with the facilities they need but somewhere they want to be; where local businesses thrive in fit for purpose spaces and visitors will want to visit and spend in the local economy. The projects were developed throughout a process that included public consultation with local people and businesses.

Cllr Malcolm Prowse; Deputy Leader and Economic Development lead member says: “We are thrilled to have received this provisional offer. Once fully approved, this funding will enable us to embark on an exciting course of improvements for Barnstaple, starting with the 'Markets Quarter', which is brilliant news for everyone who lives and works in Barnstaple, not to mention our tourists and visitors.

"Our exciting plans include a project to address the derelict listed building and façade on Boutport Street by regenerating the listed building and providing a new gateway directly from the car park through to Butchers Row. We will be seeking to maximise the opportunities within the Pannier Market with options to redefine the space and improve facilities within, which could provide a home for the many artists, creators and makers local to North Devon. When combined, these proposals will give a new heart to Barnstaple, a unique destination that will boost footfall to the high street, providing an enhanced experience for all users."

To secure the funding, the council now has to work with MHCLG to agree outputs by the end of February.

More information on the future vision for Barnstaple is available on the council's website: www.northdevon.gov.uk/barnstaple-vision.