Ilfracombe watersports centre is go after funding confirmed

A concept image looking across Ilfracombe harbour at the watersports centre site

Funding has been confirmed for the new Ilfracombe Watersports Centre - Credit: NDC

An extra £1.5million in government funding has been secured for the new Ilfracombe Watersports Centre project following a successful bid by North Devon Council. 

After almost a decade of efforts to get the proposed centre at Larkstone under way, it is now hoped to start work in the spring, with contractors invited to tender for the project. 

The funding was announced as part of an expected package in August along with money for other projects in North Devon and Torridge, which also included money for Northam Burrows Centre and the new North Devon Enterprise Centre. 

NDC was asked by The Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership (HotSW LEP) to develop a business case to bid for the  additional watersports centre funding from the Government’s Getting Building Fund.  

The centre was chosen as a suitable ‘shovel ready’ project and the council was able to demonstrate it would create jobs, support economic recovery across the South West and that spending on the project would be complete by March 2022. 

Now the money has been approved, contractors have been invited to tender for the project.  

It is set to be a state-of-the-art marine leisure hub, with community facilities for local watersports clubs with storage for boats, a slipway providing safe and easy access to the water along with a café with stunning views of the harbour. 

The council said it is hoped work will start on site by April 2021 with completion 10 months later.  

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Councillor Malcolm Prowse, lead member for economic development at the council, said: “It’s fantastic news for the Ilfracombe Watersports Centre project that our funding bid was successful.  

“Our project team have worked tirelessly on the bid so I'm delighted this hard work has paid off and we can now get going on this project.   

“Once completed the centre will be a real investment and asset for Ilfracombe as well as a welcome boost for the North Devon economy and tourism.  

“We're so lucky here in North Devon to be surrounded by fantastic coastline so the new centre will be a real opportunity for our residents to get out there and make the most of it from the water."  

Karl Tucker, chairman of the HotSW LEP, added: “The HotSW LEP’s Getting Building Fund aims to support ready-to-go projects that will deliver new jobs and contribute to our area’s post-Covid recovery.  

“We are pleased to have agreed just over £1.5m from this fund towards the building of the new Ilfracombe Watersports Centre, which will support the local economic recovery, create jobs and provide a great new facility for both tourists and residents to benefit from.” 

The centre has been an aspiration for almost a decade and the council has been working on it since at least 2012

Work had been set to start following initial funding at the end of 2018 but it was dogged by delays - North Devon Council said last year there had been ‘complexities’ and a ‘funding gap’ had developed. 

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