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Ilfracombe Watersports Centre - a community vision

[Tuesday 7 August 2012]

photo - aerial view of Ilfracombe Harbour

With the Olympic Games in full swing and the success being enjoyed by Team GB, a new watersports centre for Ilfracombe is being proposed to encourage and support our future champions.

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 watersports centre would assist some of the 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.

Councillor Mike Edmunds says: "The proposed site at Larkstone is currently being investigated to determine its suitability to host a new building. The Ilfracombe Regeneration Board, a partnership involving North Devon Council, Ilfracombe Town Council and Devon County Council,  is working with local clubs, national governing bodies, marine businesses and the community to scope out the project, looking at needs and potential growth."

Showers, changing rooms, a café, storage facilities and a slipway to access the water are currently being considered as part of the multi-functional sporting facility. The key aim is to stimulate investment in the area, support business growth and result in new employment and prosperity for local people by providing a multifunctional space.

Ellen Vernon, Economic Development Manager, says: "North Devon Council is at the early investigation stage of the project. We know the needs of the clubs and how keen some are for decent modern infrastructure, 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."

Ilfracombe benefits from a stunning harbour with a beautiful coastline, an asset which could offer huge opportunities for developing the marine and leisure sector. This in turn could trigger a positive knock-on effect to other sectors, such as tourism and retail industries.

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

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