PLANS to extend the Tarka Tennis Centre and create a new gymnastic centre of excellence have been submitted to North Devon Council. The council, which owns the centre at Seven Brethren in Barnstaple, wants to build four new indoor courts to replace the ex

PLANS to extend the Tarka Tennis Centre and create a new gymnastic centre of excellence have been submitted to North Devon Council.

The council, which owns the centre at Seven Brethren in Barnstaple, wants to build four new indoor courts to replace the existing six outdoor courts.

An adjoining gymnastics hall would become the new home of the Falcons Gymnastics Academy, which has outgrown its current gym at the Pottington Industrial Estate and has been looking for new premises for nearly three years.

The proposals have been drawn up in consultation with local tennis coaches and users and with the gymnastic clubs. If approved, the plans would almost double the size of the existing building, which was built in 2003.

The new facility would feature spectator seating and would enable major national and international tennis and gymnastics events to be held in North Devon, while providing tennis players with additional all-year-round availability, as well as a much-needed facility for gymnasts.

In 2008/2009, the footfall at the Tarka Tennis Centre was 61,657, while the Falcons Gymnastics academy served 500 gymnasts of all ages and abilities and is one of the largest participating sports clubs in North Devon.

Gymnastics England is understood to be supportive of the project and has agreed funding in principle. It is hoped that further funding might be available from British Gymnastics.

A period of public consultation has been opened until August 26.