Ilfracombe seafront plans win some, lose some

ILFRACOMBE'S seafront regeneration plans have received a boost after North Devon Council agreed to provide �1 million towards a wide-ranging scheme estimated at �5.5 million. The council s executive committee agreed in principle on Tuesday to earmark the

ILFRACOMBE'S seafront regeneration plans have received a boost after North Devon Council agreed to provide �1 million towards a wide-ranging scheme estimated at �5.5 million.

The council's executive committee agreed in principle on Tuesday to earmark the money for the culture-based project, which initially seeks to create a new building linking the museum and Landmark Theatre, enhance Runnymede Gardens, create an open air plaza and install various pieces of public art and trails.

The project steering group, made up from Ilfracombe Town Councillors, district councillors and officers from both councils, intends to submit a �1 million bid for funds to the Government �45 million CABE Sea Change pot by the end of June.

It had been proposed to secure the remaining money by obtaining �500,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund and a further million each from the People's Parks Lottery fund, Devon County Council and South West Regional Development Agency.


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But his week the RDA stated its withdrawal from various projects following a �56 million cut to its budget and this includes the Ilfracombe scheme.

Town Councillor John Swan, chairman of the steering group, expressed delight at the support shown by the district council but said the RDA funding withdrawal was the down side.

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"That's a big disappointment and it puts a great hole in our budget. The plans will have to be amended in some way to cope with the loss of that and we will have to pick out the aspects of the work which everyone agrees will be of the most benefit in regenerating the town," he said.

"The RDA recognises how important this is to the regeneration of the town, but they no longer have the money to do it any more.

"But we are obviously delighted the district council is prepared to invest so much money in the seafront as it is a great bonus to the town and we are very grateful.

"This really will help us a great deal with our bid to CABE and I am very hopeful we can put in a successful bid."

The regeneration package proposed follows the appointment of consultants Perfect Monet, who came up with the eye catching scheme, which could include such features as a "helter skelter" style slide on the slopes of Capstone and an observatory on top of the hill.

Children's play activities, paths and extensive landscaping would also form part of the scheme.

The overall project could cost up to �8 million, Ellen Vernon, economic regeneration officer for North Devon Council said in her report to the executive on Tuesday.

The report said it was felt the project should be phased to make it as feasible as possible, with the first phase costing around �5.5 million.

The scheme put forward by Perfect Moment and the steering group was the subject of a recent two day public consultation held at the Landmark, whose results are due shortly.

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