Celebration as Ilfracombe’s watersports centre gets £1.5m Coastal Communities Fund money while Barnstaple Museum extension plan wins £500,000

A 3D view of how the proposed Ilfracombe watersports centre could appear. Picture: Grainge Architects.A 3D view of how the proposed Ilfracombe watersports centre could appear. Picture: Grainge Architects.

Two major North Devon projects look set to go ahead after winning £2million from the Coastal Communities Fund.

The Ilfracombe Watersports Centre proposed for Larkstone is to receive more that £1.5 million, while the new extension for the Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon is to get £500,000.

The funding was announced today by coastal communities minister Andrew Percy, with North Devon set to receive £2m of the £40m pot.

North Devon MP Peter Heaton-Jones has welcomed the news and said to receive two big government grants in one day was something the region should be proud of.

The Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon has won £500,000 from the Coastal Communities FundThe Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon has won £500,000 from the Coastal Communities Fund

Of the watersports centre, he said: "This is a vital project for the area, and I've been delighted to work with North Devon Council and the local community to push our case.

"This included a visit to the site by government officials last year, following which I raised the matter in Parliament. This scheme will be a real boost for Ilfracombe and it's great news that the government has recognised its importance with such a large grant."

Hailing the museum funding, he added: "This is the final piece in the funding jigsaw and should mean the exciting plans for an extension can go ahead.

"After visiting the museum to see the plans, I wrote to the minister to support the bid because this project is so important both for our local heritage and our tourism economy.

"I want to congratulate all the councils, organisations and community members - many of them volunteers - who have worked so hard to make this happen."

Museum manager Alison Mills said it was wonderful news. She added: "What it means is we have got £1.7m, 92 per cent of the money and we still need some funding, so we have really got to push to fill in the final gap."

She said other funding included £250,000 from North Devon Council, £50,000 from Fullabrook CIC and £25,000 from the Foyle Foundation.

Coastal Communities Minister Andrew Percy said: "We're putting the wind in the sails of over dozen major projects along the South West coast line.

"From a new watersports centre in Ilfracombe to a new enterprise hub in St Ives, this funding will help make sure seaside towns in the South West flourish."

* To support the museum appeal to get the final bit of funding, or find out about becoming a corporate sponsor, call Alison on 01271 346747 or email alison.mills@northdevon.gov.uk

Or donations can be left at the museum, cheques can be made payable to 'B and ND Museum Development Trust' or donations can be made online at https://mbndtrust.org/about/support-the-trust