Brunswick Wharf | A beautiful new quayside development

Brunswick Wharf

A beautiful new quayside development, featuring apartments, design studios, retail and restaurants.


When Torridge District Council noted the East-the-Water Wharves as important for the economic regeneration of the whole town,  the vision for the Brunswick Wharf Development was born. Red Earth Developments has been keen to take on this project since 2012 and is resolved to regenerate the area with the essence of Bideford in mind.

The Site

East-the-Water Wharves is an historic site containing the former Brunswick, Queen’s, Steamer and Clarence Wharves. Much of the site has remained derelict for many years, with the other half being a car park. The quay wall needs upgrading and there is limited access to the river. This development will breath new life into this neglected stretch of water-front, bringing vital long term investment to the East-the-Water area. It will create a beautiful space for leisure, creativity and new homes. Direct pedestrian access to the quayside will provide important links within the local area; to the nearby Tarka Trail and across the Long Bridge to Bideford Town.

Want to see more detail?

You can find out more about our proposed development by
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Proposed Scheme

Red Earth’s vision is to transform a currently bleak and under-utilised area into a vibrant new heart for the community, which aims to complement, not compete with the town centre.  The proposals aim for excellence in design, respect for the historical significance of the wharves and the highest sustainability standards. The proposals will provide homes and a leisure destination that will be a wonderful addition to Bideford’s built landscape.

The layout of the development will create three open sided squares  – two private and one public – linked by a quayside walk along the entire frontage of the site. The site has been designed with full accessibility in mind and green landscaped areas provide important net gain in biodiversity.

The public square will have retail, restaurant and design studios around the three edges with different levels giving form and interest for visitors.  A coffee house sits central to the square and its design form references the shipbuilding history of the site. We intend to commission Sandy Brown, a local ceramicist with an international reputation, to design a vibrant sculpture within this public space.

The overall design of the new buildings aims to respect the form of the historic wharves with the main buildings, like the current Brunswick Wharf building, presented at right angles to the river with breaks between to allow views through to Barnstaple Street.

All the parking will be located in an undercroft car park, keeping the main areas of the public and private squares free for pedestrians.

The Essential Elements

85 Apartments

1 Signature Restaraunt

5 Live/Work Design Studios

1 Cafe

7 Boutique Retail Units

Public Square With Riverside Walk

156 Parking Spaces

50 Cycle Stands

Design Form

“The proposed layout is in keeping with the historical layout of the site but less dense.”

The yellow shows where the new proposed buildings would be superimposed on the positions of the wharf buildings present in 1937. 

History Of The Site

The East-the-Water Wharves site was part of Bideford’s shipbuilding heritage and was historically known as Restarick’s Shipyard. Merchant sailing vessels were built here for over 400 years until the shipyard closed in 1886. It was bought in 1887 by I. Baker and Son, builders merchants, whose name is on the street end of the Brunswick Wharf building. This plaque will be retained in the New Brunswick Wharf Building.

The Wharves were used for imports and exports of goods such as tobacco, clay, wool, textiles and earthenware products from nearby potteries. The open space of the yard will be enhanced and become the new public square, opening off Barnstaple Street. Red Earth is keen to be sympathetic to the history of the Wharves, not only in terms of building form – but by recognising its evolving history and uses which has always centred on creativity & ingenuity.

Design & Access Statement

design and access (DAS) statement is a short report accompanying and supporting a planning application. It provides a framework for applicants like us to explain how a proposed development is a suitable response to the site and its setting. You can read our submission by clicking the button below:

Passivhaus Standards

We’re aiming to reach the leading international certification for energy efficiency in buildings.


The site is near an important marine SSSI therefore we’re keen to create net biodiversity gains in the landscape design.

Carbon Neutral

Aiming for a carbon neutral construction phase by carbon offsetting with North Devon Biosphere partners in Kenya.

Renewable Energy

Installing renewable energy sources such as deep piled ground source heat pumps to reduce ongoing running costs.

Sustainability is an important part of this development.

Red Earth wants to acknowledge and celebrate that Bideford lies at the heart of the North Devon UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and the North Devon Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

We are also very conscious that we need to live sustainably and we want this project to be a showcase in exemplar sustainable development, which will happen in four key ways.

passivhaus trust logo and north devon biosphere

Artistic Approach

If you are a local artist who would like to keep in touch about our proposed 2021 Competition, please send us a message on one of our social channels.

Bideford has very strong links with clay, historically via the traditional slipware which was made in the area. Ships still export clay from Peters Marland and other local pits to Russia and Germany.

Red Earth wants to involve local artists and, in conjunction with The Burton at Bideford, plans to run a competition in 2021 if we achieve planning consent. The commission opportunities would range from murals/clay reliefs, railings & gates, benches & historical information boards – where we would work closely with the Way of the Wharves charity.

For the main square, we intend to commission Sandy Brown, a local internationally acclaimed ceramicist, to create one of four alternative sculptures:

  • Labyrinth: encourages engagement with the public, through walking meditation to a centre point.
  • Sea Henge: Also a  large contemporary piece seen from across the river, encouraging connection. Henge takes its inspiration from the rounded rocky forms of the coast.
  • Cygnus & Reeds: Celebrating the swans often seen amongst the estuarine plants.
  • Buoy Forms: A series of individual sculptures inspired by the floating buoys on the Torridge.

Want to see more detail?

You can find out more about our proposed development by
clicking the buttons in this section.

The Red Earth Journey

First Sight

Fell in love with the potential of the area and the site itself.

The Beginning

Selected by Torridge DC as developer in 2017. Exchanged contracts 2019

Building Begins

We aim to start building the Square, so the public area is open first

Grand Opening

We would love you to see the finished project & usher in a new era for Bideford