Report on Chamber activities (February 2021)

Bideford Bay Chamber of Commerce Bideford-Bay-Chamber-latest-news-898x344

Decarbonisation and Environment Committee

Major issues affecting local business.

  • Sea Level Rise (SLR)
  • Coastal Erosion
  • Estuary Erosion
  • Storm Surge
  • Landfill Contaminants


The site was closed in 1995. It poses a major threat to the area for the long term and is virtually impossible to remove. In terms of tourism, sea and estuary contamination are certain if the site is breached. Trace elements of extremely hazardous materials have been identified such as arsenic, lead and zinc. Should these leach into the sea and estuary it would cause catastrophic effects.

There are no records of materials dumped prior to 1995, which poses a serious threat.

Sea Level rise and storm surges.

By 2030 it is likely that areas of Torridge will be seriously affected. Northam Burrows could become inundated and there will be serious threats to areas such as Appledore, Bideford quay is and East the Water. By 2040, East the Water, Kynocks, Lower Cleave and further flooding of the Quay area. By 2050 areas of Bideford beyond the quay become below high tide point.

Storm surges become more of a threat as sea levels rise and will cause a serious threat to Bideford and, should the landfill site become breached will cause a huge hazard. By 2030 this is likely to become a serious situation.


Smart parking – Blue mesh.

This is a great opportunity for our area and should be supported by the Chamber.  A Chamber Exec rep met with Blue Mesh, who explained how this works.

Simply radio-controlled studs are placed in parking bays. These transmit occupancy and drivers can input information such as nearest parking to a restaurant or other venues. Drivers can link via smartphones.

The points Chamber Rep raised at the meeting were:

  • Types of parking offered within our area and, if possible give people a choice. Choices could be Type of vehicle or person. Car, van, lorry, coach, M/C, disabled, less mobile, child friendly.
  • Give people a choice: Cheaper parking, mid-range cost and high cost. That would cover areas such as the cattle market, long stay and short stay. Not to forget charging points.
  • It would be pointless to divert a less able person to a park which is on a steep hill and requires fitness. It would make matters even worse. So a choice should be level or on a hill.
  • Add M/C parking and possibly even cycle racks. Add essentials like toilets as an add on.
  • Park and ride opportunities so that a visitor parks in Bideford and tours Westward Ho! And Appledore, thus reducing congestion and carbon footprint.

The great thing about the scheme is that it is flexible, for example, a restaurant could offer a voucher for parking, people can focus on places they would visit and parking would take them to a close proximity.

It will cover all parks, including Northam Burrows and could be up and running in 2021 and all local attractions and venues can register.

Bideford Harbour Points for consideration.


There were no urgent matters however the Chair invited the Vice President of the Bideford Chamber of Commerce, Mr John Puddy to read out his statement concerning visiting yachts. Mr Puddy raised concern with the following:

  • New regulations make it hard for small boats with no holding tank to visit.
  • There is no pump-out facility in the port and so any vessel with a holding tank or chemical toilet has no means of emptying this tank.
  • Vessels berthed for the long term have no means of pumping out making it very difficult for live-aboard vessels.
  • Toilets are closed during the night and so facilities are limited.
  • Consideration should be given to the provision of a dedicated marine facility for small boats such as a toilet and shower. In the interim, boat owners both permanent and visiting should be provided with overnight access to disabled 3 toilets. By the provision of a key. A deposit can be levied on arrival. The toilet and shower facility would be a valuable resource for all harbour users.
  • The provision of visitor berths – potentially a pontoon with a hookup electricity facility, water and be an easy walk to the toilet.
  • Visiting boats would be good for Tourism and income generation.
  • Investment is needed with regards to marketing, promoting and advertising the Harbour.
  • For the avoidance of doubt, the Harbourmaster has delegated responsibility to terminate Facility Agreements on behalf of the Council. This rather unfortunate statement eliminates and disputes procedure or further discussion regarding the termination of berthing. There should be an appeal procedure to avoid potential conflict between parties and to protect the Harbour Master.

The Chair raised concern to how much it would cost to provide facilities, is it warranted as the Capital Programme is already over budget and suggested officers bring forward a report with costings.

Following a query form the Chair, the Harbour Master confirmed that the Moorings & Facilities Policy has already been approved. The policy is now in place and will be reviewed in a couple of years.

The Harbour Master agreed with Mr Puddy that Bideford would make a nice area for visiting however the rise and fall of tides make it difficult and the little berthing that Bideford has is taken up by long term vessels. The Harbour Master advised that an officer within TDC is currently working on the website with improvements coming next year.

Further Chamber actions:

To continue representation at Harbour Committee meetings.

Support Torridge in ongoing commercial activity supporting port viability.

Support and act to promote the harbour as a tourist destination both by land and sea.

Bideford Anti-Social Behaviour (Alcohol/drug-related) Steering group

These meetings are being attended by a Chamber representative and the actions of the group have a direct impact on services and support provided in our area. Police also attend as they have front line responsibility

We are fortunate in that crime figures for the area are very low. For example, December there were 3 reported issues and in January, 4. Likely as a result of the covid pandemic.

We discussed the closure of the skatepark and ongoing effects. You people we moved from Jubilee Square by Police and at present have very little opportunity to practice and remain active in their sport.

Discussions were had about the limited support within Bideford now that Harbour and Integr8 have closed.

Some funding has been acquired for outreach and signposting.

Youth engagement is still operational on our streets.