Detailed plans for the new state-of-the-art North Devon Leisure Centre have been given the go-ahead.
The multi-million pound centre in Barnstaple will feature Devon’s first endless ski slope for indoor skiing, snowboarding and tobogganing, as well as a sports hall, gym, cafe and play areas.
It includes a 25m, eight-lane swimming pool and 20m trainer pool, both with moveable floors that allow the pools to reach up to 1.8m in depth, and will enable the leisure centre to provide lifeguard training facilities and accommodate additional sports such as water polo, funded in part by the Coastal Communities Fund and National Lottery grants through Sport England.
Set to be located next to the Tarka Tennis Centre, it will replace the outdated North Devon Leisure Centre on the Seven Brethren industrial estate, which has become unfit for purpose.
The reserved matters planning application, which covered the detailed elements of the design, was approved by councillors on North Devon Council’s planning committee last Wednesday (July 8).
Recommending approval, officers told the committee that the use of cladding on the outside of the centre was an acceptable design solution in this locality and the use of timber provides a softening and environmental appropriate nod to the design ethos of a sports and leisure centre.
While there could be harm to the conservation area, the report said that the benefits of the new leisure centre were clear and the balance weighed in their favour, and the report added that the application accorded with the outline application that had previously been approved.
The planning statement added that it generally represents a sustainable development which will result in a positive addition to the local area through good design, and a contribution to the council’s sporting facilities, while also serving as a boost to the local economy during the construction phase.
Outside the centre, visitors will have ample parking on site, with a minimum of 141 spaces, and be able to enjoy a children’s play area.
It is set to open on February 1, 2022, at which point the existing leisure centre would then close.