Anchorwood Bank is the most prominent development site in Barnstaple. In 2011 Wessex Investors began working as promoter and development partner to the site’s owners, with the objective of delivering a comprehensive mixed use regeneration scheme.
Seaxburh has been working with the developer and other partners from day one; firstly to reset local understanding of the project and then creating and managing all communications for phases 1, 2 and 3, including an ongoing stakeholder engagement programme, to deliver planning consents.
- The site had lain dormant for many years due to the need for significant infrastructure and flood protection works. A previous proposal had been approved but had not moved forward.
- A congested local road system and a competing supermarket development on the other side of the town.
- An anchor investor (ASDA) was required to finance initial site works, raising significant local concerns about the likely impact on the town centre.
- The presence of dilapidated ‘heritage asset’ buildings on a key part of the site, listed during 2015.
What we did
- Created a new brand identity for Anchorwood Bank and launched it using a brochure and website to create a true sense of place and understanding of Anchorwood Bank as a new riverside quarter and asset for the town.
- Worked with architects to prepare a simple site masterplan, describing the key areas and elements and development benefits including investment figures, number of jobs and new neighbourhood amenities.
- Identified key stakeholders and began a detailed stakeholder programme, effectively relaunching the project to influencers and engaging with negative groups.
- Established relationships with local news outlets and developed news items to support the journey through the planning process.
- Continued regular engagement and communications with key groups and individuals into Phase 2 and Phase 3.
The project has been well supported in the town and the site is now properly taking shape. Outline planning consent was secured in 2014 for a scheme of up to 350 homes and a range of commercial uses, with detailed planning consent given for the ASDA store, key site infrastructure and a 675m long riverside walk and cycleway. ASDA opened in November 2016 and the first phase of the retail and restaurant area opened in Summer 2018.
The first homes – in the gorgeous Taw Wharf – are selling fast.
Finally, a partnership agreement with Acorn Blue will deliver the redevelopment of the historic Oliver Buildings – with a fantastic regeneration scheme created by LHC Architects. This final piece in the Anchorwood Bank jigsaw was secured through a unanimous decision at Planning Committee in March 2020.
‘Lucie has been a key member of our consultant team since 2011. Anchorwood Bank is a huge regeneration project for Barnstaple but our plans were not always popular. With Lucie’s help we reset understanding of the scheme and gained support. There is now huge enthusiasm for the project amongst local stakeholders and this was vital in securing planning permission for the final phase.’
Andrew Pegg, Managing Director, Wessex Investors