NORTH Devon Council has approved a massive £33million cash pot to be spent on a raft of projects during the next three years. The plans for major spending were rubber stamped by councillors who met to endorse the council s Capital Programme - a list of pr

NORTH Devon Council has approved a massive £33million cash pot to be spent on a raft of projects during the next three years.The plans for major spending were rubber stamped by councillors who met to endorse the council's Capital Programme - a list of projects to be carried out between now and 2011.As revealed by the Gazette last month, the authority's medium-term financial strategy includes a £5million loan - the first time the council has had to borrow money since the sale of its housing stock in 2000.Council Leader Cllr Michael Harrison said that the council had worked very hard to tick most of the boxes with the money it had."This budget had a difficult birth but I think the end result is a decent looking child," he told fellow councillors, as the budget was approved last Wednesday night."It's always a difficult job trying to produce a programme within the funds available while providing something for everyone but I think we've managed to achieve it."I'm looking forward to delivering these fantastic projects for the people of North Devon over the coming years."Cllr Malcolm Prowse said that that it had been one of his proudest moments to stand before the council and announce it was debt-free in 2000, but the £5million loan included in the new budget was necessary to safeguard a number of projects that the council had agreed to deliver."There was nothing in the original budget for the regeneration of Ilfracombe or South Molton, but we have dug our heels in," he said"We have had two or three bites at this but in the end it has been worthwhile."Approval of the council's budget was music to the ears of jubilant skateboarders in Barnstaple, who can now officially look forward to a brand new skatepark at Rock Park, thanks to a £169,000 boost."This is the final piece of the jigsaw," said Cllr John Wilsher. "We now have final confirmation that the skatepark will go ahead after nearly four years of blood, sweat and tears."We have persevered, knocked on doors and made a nuisance of ourselves and it is going to be fantastic to see a skatepark, BMX park and other facilities at Rock Park later in the year."Other schemes due to come to fruition this year include two brand new one-stop-shops in Ilfracombe and South Molton. The council is investing almost half-a-million pounds in improving frontline services for customers in the two towns and their outlying areas.A £559,000 public loo replacement project is also included in the programme, with new state-of-the-art facilities planned for Barnstaple's cattle market car park, South Molton, Lynton and Instow.In the longer term, members will be looking at potential regeneration packages for South Molton and Ilfracombe. In South Molton, £57,000 is being ploughed into plans that could see redevelopment of the central area of the town, while £200,000 will be contributed towards a new youth resource centre. In Ilfracombe, there is a £2million scheme in the pipeline to enhance the harbour area, while £100,00 has been set aside for a new skatepark in the town.the sum of £5 million was set aside for the council's long-term plans to build a new leisure centre at Seven Brethren in Barnstaple to replace the current, outdated facility. Money was also earmarked to relocate the council's refuse and recycling depot from Seven Brethren to Roundswell.The spend will leave the council with a £1.4million surplus. The council's capital programme is available to view at www.northdevon.gov.uk