The second phase of the £3.2million complex was opened on Saturday

A major phase of a £3.2million tennis and racquet sports complex in Bideford is open for use.

Atlantic Racquet Centre (ARC) opened its indoor tennis courts at the Caddsdown facility on Saturday with a free open day.

More than 400 people – some as young as three years old – came to try out the new courts, which have been some 12 years in the making.

The day included hour-long sessions which helped introduce newcomers to the sport, as well as bring back returning players.

Action from the ARC open day. Picture: Lottie MilesAction from the ARC open day. Picture: Lottie Miles

Guests included Devon LTA chairman Justin Kraushar, as well as councillors from Torridge District Council - which supported the centre with a £60,000 grant.

ARC trustee David Vinall said: “We started this project 12 years ago. It’s been a long time coming and it’s just amazing to finally be here.

“The courts are fantastic - really good and with a great bounce. We’re one of the first tennis centres in the country to have LED lighting and it’s like playing in daylight.

“It’s a community facility, which is open to everyone. The whole thing is a £3.2million complex, and I think for Bideford to have that is phenomenal.”

The new indoor courts at Atlantic Racquet Centre.The new indoor courts at Atlantic Racquet Centre.

As well as indoor tennis, the facilities make it possible to play table tennis and badminton at the centre.

ARC will find out in February if it has secured the funding required to go ahead with the final stage of the complex, which includes a clubhouse area, squash courts and a gym and fitness hall.

If successful construction will start immediately for completion by the end of 2018.

The final phase will also include changing places facilities, which will be open for the whole community.

To book a court at Atlantic Racquet Centre, visit www.atlanticracquetcentre.co.uk