North Devon and Torridge are set to get £2.7million from the Government’s Coastal Communities Fund.
There will be £1.5m for North Devon Council (NDC) towards the new swimming pool as part of the new North Devon leisure centre proposed for Seven Brethren in Barnstaple.
Plus Torridge District Council will receive £1.2m towards a £2.17m Burrows Centre project to create a new all year round interpretation centre and activity hub for nature-based tourism at Northam Burrows, to increase visitor numbers and job opportunities.
It will also provide business support for exiting and start-up tourism related businesses.
The money for the leisure centre scheme in Barnstaple has been awarded to NDC for the deep water pool at the new £14m leisure centre, which will have adjustable depth options to allow for competitions plus new all-weather facilities to be used for lifeguard and RNLI training.
NDC contracts manager Mark Kentell said they were ‘genuinely overjoyed’ to get the money, which was a ‘significant step’ for the project.
He said: “It’s within touching distance now and I am reasonably confident we will be starting work later on this year.
“If we weren’t building a new one there would be a real possibility we would not have a leisure centre in the next few years, so this is great news.”
The council plans to demolish the existing leisure centre, which it says is at the end of its life, and provide the land for the development of up to 245 new homes.
The Northam Burrows Centre would have a café and outdoor terrace, the centre would provide disabled access and parking which is not currently available.
There would also be a larger exhibition space, multi-use community space, and offices.
The old visitor centre was put up in the 1980s and is now at the end of its life.
Torridge’s head of paid service Jenny Wallace said: “The competition for funding is always intense so to receive such a significant sum is fantastic news for everyone involved.
“There was a real team effort in making the case for a grant, with officers from the council working closely with many organisations including an important contribution from the area’s economic delivery agency, North Devon Plus.
“The new facilities will hopefully also be a catalyst for many much needed jobs for the area, both directly within the centre itself, and indirectly in the important tourism sector of our economy whilst strengthening the protection of our natural assets. Everyone is really excited about the potential of all of this and we hope that residents and tourists alike will be able to enjoy the benefits of this major investment in the near future.”