Client: North Devon District Council
Location: Barnstaple, Devon
The Taw and Torridge Estuary contains internationally protected landscapes and wildlife reserves. There is a real sense of wilderness and tranquillity in much of the estuary, as well as landscapes of very high scenic quality. The area also contains some of North Devon’s most popular and best loved beaches and a busy recreational route. Closer to the main towns, the estuary has also been subject to development pressure from a growing population in North Devon.
The Council were keen, as part of the local plan process, to protect the characteristics and qualities that make the estuary valued while encouraging appropriate levels of growth where these were possible. Our brief was to identify the key characteristics of the estuary landscape and to identify their sensitivities. Extensive fieldwork and public consultation informed the process. The character assessment has been used as evidence base for the Coast and Estuary Zone strategy in the local plan and has been tested in a number of planning decisions.