Torridge awarded government cash to tackle legacy of winter storm damage.

Westward Ho!’s historic tidal swimming pool will be repaired following a lifeline funding announcement set to target a legacy of storm damage in the seaside village.

The pool, damaged during the high spring tides in February last year, will reopen thanks to a £417,000 Coastal Communities Fund windfall, announced by the Treasury on Monday.

Torridge District Council will also use the cash to repair the sea wall; resurface the promenade; improve access to the beach; replace lighting columns and lost and damaged seating; and install a new play trail and interpretation boards.

The council is also planning two art installations – an exclamation mark and a piece to celebrate the Rudyard Kipling poem, If.

In nearby Bucks Mills, money will be used to subsidise further improvements to the recently replaced slipway and access to the beach, which was totally destroyed by storms last year.

In July last year, the Gazette reported that the Rock Swimming Pool would remain closed indefinitely after the district council had struggled to foot the repair bill.

At the time, council leader Philip Collins said the original plan was to refurbish the pool, but the ‘fearful battering’ it took over the winter had been ‘very substantial’.

But speaking after Monday’s funding announcement, Councillor Collins said the works, ‘so badly needed’, could now commence.

Fellow councillor, Roger Johnson, lead member for the economy and coastal infrastructure, added: “This money will afford us a unique opportunity not only to repair storm damage but enhance the facilities and infrastructure for all UK residents to come and enjoy.

“I am particularly excited that we will now have the funds to repair the unique, free, and historic Rock Swimming Pool, which was widely used before it was damaged.

“Until central government granted these funds, the council’s capacity to commit to immediate repairs of the pool was in doubt.

“But we can now move out from under that cloud and restore it to full use, which many residents have anxiously awaited. I’m sure they will welcome this great news.”

Cllr Collins said the impact of the money would be felt further in the economy, by creating opportunities for local businesses to bid and hopefully win some of the work contracts.

He added: “While none of this would have been possible without central government making funds available for bids, I would like to congratulate council officers in putting together very comprehensive plans to very tight deadlines and presenting such a strong and ultimately convincing case.

“It’s great to see their hard work has been rewarded with such a significant grant and that the works, so badly needed, can now shortly commence.”