North Devon Council confirms proposals to build ‘all round’ centre at Larkstone.

WITH the Olympic Games in full swing and the golden success being enjoyed by Team GB, a new watersports centre has been proposed for Ilfracombe to encourage and support our future champions, North Devon Council has announced today (Tuesday).

Gig rowing, canoeing, sea kayaking, sailing and coasteering are some of the activities that could operate from a new permanent base at Larkstone Beach.

The proposed new centre would assist local clubs in finding a permanent modern home for their sport, to serve their current and potential new members.

The centre could also attract visitors to the area, as well as provide training space and onshore facilities for marine industries.

“The proposed site at Larkstone is currently being investigated to determine its suitability to host a new building,” said Ilfracombe District Councillor and executive member Mike Edmunds.

“The Ilfracombe Regeneration Board, a partnership involving the district, town and county councils, is working with local clubs, national governing bodies, marine businesses and the community to scope out the project, looking at needs and potential growth.”

The centre could include showers, changing rooms, a café, storage facilities and a slipway to access the water as part of a multi-functional sporting facility.

The key aim is to stimulate investment in the area, support business growth, employment and prosperity.

Ellen Vernon, economic development manager at the council said it was at an early investigation stage:

“We know the needs of the clubs and how keen some are for decent modern infrastructure,” she explained.

“But we also need to look at the bigger picture and how this facility can assist the wider regeneration programme of the town, trying to spread the economic benefits to the community and become sustainable in the long-term.”

Site and ground investigations are now under way on this latest proposal, with the findings due to be reported back to the council at a later stage.