The bid to build a new North Devon leisure centre now has more than £3million in the pot thanks to lottery cash.

North Devon Council (NDC) announced today (Thursday, July 4) that it had been awarded £1.75m of National Lottery funding from Sport England towards the project to create a new centre next to the Tarka Tennis Centre.

The news comes on the heels of the council's successful bid for £1.5m from the Coastal Communities Fund.

The council has said previously the old leisure centre at Seven Brethren is nearing the end of its life, is no longer fit for purpose and would cost too much to repair.

With the funding in place the council has now asked for final tenders from the leisure operators who are currently bidding for the contract to design, build and manage the new leisure centre at Seven Brethren.

It has asked for tenders to include a minimum of a 25-metre eight-lane pool, learner pool, sports hall, fitness suite and exercise studios on land adjoining the tennis centre.

The exact design and final mix of facilities will be determined by the leisure operator who wins the contract, as long as they meet the council's minimum requirements.

The contract will also include operating Tarka Tennis Centre and Ilfracombe Pool and Fitness Centre for the next 20 years.

The successful leisure operator is expected to be selected in the next month.

Council leader, Councillor David Worden, said it was 'superb news'. He added: "I'm so pleased to hear we've been successful in both our funding bids, which is testament to the hard work of the team delivering the project.

"Both funders have recognised how important swimming is to our community and we will press on now to deliver a top notch pool and leisure facilities we can all be proud of at Tarka Tennis Centre. "Thanks to Sport England and all the National Lottery players."

Work has already begun to replace one of the grass football pitches at Tarka Tennis with a full-size artificial grass pitch, following more successful funding bids to The Premier League and FA Facilities Fund and Devon County Council.

The pieces of the Seven Brethren redevelopment plan seem to be coming together, as this week the council also launched a consultation on proposals for 245 new homes on the old leisure centre site and car park.

READ MORE: Consultation on 245 new homes at Seven Brethren .