North Devon Council executive agrees to submit plans as it continues to bid for ‘top class’ centre to help regenerate the harbour area.
A major project to provide a new watersports centre and improve facilities at the Pier in Ilfracombe has taken another step forward.
At a meeting of North Devon Council’s executive today (Tuesday), councillors voted to submit a planning application.
The council will then bid for funding from the Coastal Communities Fund to pay for it.
The new centre would be a multi-functional facility based at Larkstone Cove.
Showers, changing rooms, a café, storage facilities and a slipway to access the water are included in the design.
Alongside this, the council also hopes to improve facilities at the harbour, by rebuilding the harbourmaster’s office and Lundy ticket office.
This includes an improved lookout, waiting room and new restaurant on the first floor overlooking the harbour and Verity.
“We’re confident we have some top class designs, but the next stage is critical - obtaining planning permission will allow us to bid for funding from external agencies, because without funding we won’t be able to deliver these new facilities,” said executive member for strategic planning in Ilfracombe, Councillor Mike Edmunds.
“This is an important step forward for development in Ilfracombe. The centre would transform conditions for local watersports groups and hopefully stimulate further investment in the area,” said executive member for economic regeneration, Councillor Malcolm Prowse.
Ilfracombe Harbourmaster Rob Lawson said a good deal of progress had been made recently to deliver the ambitions of the Ilfracombe Harbour Board Development Strategy.
“This new project, to improve the leisure and tourism offer at the harbour, whilst enhancing operational capability, is further evidence that the Harbour Board is working hard to deliver its adopted strategy for the benefit of the local community,” he said.
Chairman Geoff Fowler said the board saw the projects as an ‘important step forward in raising the profile of Ilfracombe as a maritime centre in the South West’.
Design work began in December, after Northern Devon Fisheries Local Action Group (FLAG) secured a grant from the European Fisheries Fund to pay 50 per cent of design costs.
The council has been consulting local clubs in the town, including the Canoe Club, Youth Yacht Club and Gig Club to agree the design.
It is also working with North Devon+ and local watersports clubs to help set up a management body to run the centre when it is complete.