LEISURE CENTRE PROJECT FOR NORTH DEVON MOVES FORWARD

The dream of a new leisure centre for North Devon took three monumental steps closer to reality last week, with exciting news from Sport England as the icing on the cake!

The project, led by North Devon Council’s Parks, Leisure and Culture team, will see a new eight-lane swimming pool and other leisure facilities built onto the Tarka Tennis Centre at Seven Brethren, Barnstaple.

Last week a planning application was submitted and validated, with hopes that this will be determined by December. The search for an operator to design, build, operate and maintain the new leisure facilities is now live, with details of the contract online at www.supplyingthesouthwest.org.uk – the closing date to register an interest and submit a response is 27 October 2017 at midday.

On Thursday 14 September, Sport England confirmed that its Investment Committee is in support of the project and has formally invited the council to submit an application for funding. This means Sport England has ring-fenced £1.5m towards the project, and will work alongside the council to support its application for funding. If successful, construction of the new facilities could begin in autumn 2018 and be complete by summer 2020.

Executive Member for Parks, Leisure and Culture, Councillor Dick Jones, says: “We may have been fairly quiet about our leisure centre project for a while, but behind the scenes a huge amount of work has been going on to drive the project forward and this is the news we’ve been waiting for from Sport England. I am so delighted by their decision to support our application and look forward to continuing to work with them to progress our funding bid.

“We also reached two key milestones last week, with the planning application lodged and the contract out to tender. I would like to congratulate the officers for what they have achieved so far and thank them for their professionalism and continuing  hard work. North Devon Leisure Centre is coming to the end of its useful life and we’ve got to work hard to secure this funding to provide a new pool and leisure facilities to replace it.”

To keep up to date with the progress of this project, follow the council’s blog www.newleisurecentre.wordpress.com.

 

NORTH DEVON SCHOOLS SHOW JUMPING LEAGUE: OVERALL REPORT & REPORT FROM SOUTH MOLTON COLLEGE

Thank you to Vicky Fiddes for sending us this report of the North Devon Schools Showjumping League semi-finals, which took place last weekend. Vicki writes:

On Sunday 30 July North Devon Schools Show Jumping League held their semi-finals at Coxleigh Barton Equestrian Centre in Barnstaple.

The 50cm team competition was won by Chulmleigh Primary School’s team, The Cubs. The riders in the cubs team were: Zak Flanagan, Ella Otto, Morgan Callister and Fred Barlow. The 50cm individual winner was Lilli Fiddes from Braunton Academy, riding Redvears Peregrine.

The 60cm was won by Braunton Academy’s team, Trivium: Lilli Fiddes, Sienna Gray, Katie Holton and Poppy Priscott.  Katie Miles riding Apple Blossom from West Buckland took the individual win.

Sadly, during the 60 competition Chulmleigh rider, Ella, has a fall and broke her collar bone. We would like to take this opportunity to wish her a speedy recovery from everyone at NDSSJL and hope to see her back in action next season.

The 70cm team class was won by Bethany Robinson, Ellie Dawson, Molly Mellett and Caitie Streete, who were riding for Park Community College’s team 1. The individual winner was Grace Sinclair, riding Annandale Royal Warrant from South Molton Community College.

The 80cm team comp winners were South Molton. The riders making up Team Storm were Izzy Beard, Molly Matthews, Maisie Atkinson and Grace Sinclair. Grace and her horse Cregg Surprise  also took the  individual win.

The 90cm was run purely as an individual competition with Molly Matthews on Million Dollar Girls taking the win. She rides for South Molton Community College.

Head judge and course builder, Sara Gallagher, commented: “I have seen such an improvement from every one of the children, especially those who would not normally have the chance to go out and compete. I do love the team encouragement for each other.”

Show jumping trainer at NDSSJL,  Nancy Hutchings, said she had thoroughly enjoyed training lots of the individual and team riders and that the improvement in all the riders from the first show to now has been incredible to watch.

Organisers Jo Gay and Lucy Jenkinson and myself have thoroughly enjoyed running the series and can’t wait for the Championship event on 1 September at Coxleigh Barton. The League has been an absolute pleasure to run. Each and every child has done their school proud! They have all been fantastic to watch, have shown great team spirit and been very polite throughout every competition.

After our championship show at Coxleigh on 1 September, the new league will be starting on 1 October. The competition is open to all school age children in North Devon. Full info on how to get involved can be found on the North Devon Schools Show Jumping League facebook group or at Coxleigh.com.

And thank you to Mrs Sherwood, who sent us a report detailing how South Molton Community College got on at the semis. Here is what she wrote:

Showcasing show jumping talent, this year is the inaugural North Devon Schools Show Jumping League. A friendly, local competition held at Coxleigh Barton Equestrian Centre, the newly established league is encouraging and welcoming all North Devon pupils to take part. Representing their respective schools, the successes of individual pupils have been tallied across the league tables since the first event in April. The monthly qualifiers came to a head on Sunday 30th July.

Pupils from South Molton Community College have consistently performed exceptionally well – claiming first and second place in the 80cm class and first and second in the 90cm.

Horse riding requires huge amounts of dedication and resilience, winning classes has not been down to luck or chance. Our students have worked hard throughout the cold and dark winter months to prepare for this league. I am always impressed with how well they turn their horses out and how considerately they ride – always putting the horse or pony first.

The school’s Show Jumping Team have been sponsored by Acorn Saddlery this year, who have provided the team with their purple livery.

Andrew Finney, Principal of South Molton Community College, said: “We are immensely proud of our students and how well they represent our school and local community. We’re very much looking forward to the Championship in September.”

A lot of the students at South Molton Community College are part of their local Pony Clubs and often train and attend additional competitions. Most recently, Jess Cumings, Josh Flanagan and Molly Matthews qualified for Grass Roots Area Eventing, with Jess Cumings, Molly Matthews and Lily Cronk qualifying for Grass Roots Show Jumping. Caroline Sherwood said: “SMCC students are kind, motivated and hardworking – they can achieve anything they put their mind to – inside or outside of the classroom.”

Editor’s note – Exmoor Mag would like to hear from all schools with their individual reports if they want to send them in. Don’t be left out! Email  editor@exmoormagazine.co.uk to let us know how you got on at the Championship! Good luck to all the riders!

SOMERSET STAGES WILL TAKE YEAR OUT IN 2018

The following statement has been issued by the Somerset Stages…

The Organising Committee of the Somerset Stages Rally have decided to have a “Year Out” in 2018, which would have been our 40th running of the Somerset Stages Rally.

After considerable discussions we have reluctantly come to this decision.  The factors creating this are mainly due to the very much reduced entry level for our 2017 Event. The reduced entry level trend is occurring generally across all gravel events for reasons well known by all concerned.

However, the organising costs are continuing to rise each year, jeopardising the financial side of the Rally.

This has created a considerable overall financial loss, which has seriously impacted our reserve funds from previous year’s Events.  Also, we cannot see any signs of this situation improving in the near future, which would obviously impact entry levels in 2018.

This, together with some possible logistical restrictions on Stage usage in 2018, and some complications on public road closures for competitive use in the area. This will need to be resolved during the coming year, including arranging suitable insurance cover.

We are sure the businesses in the Minehead area and within the Exmoor National Park will be disappointed to hear this news, as they do support the Competitors and Organisers and we, and the Competitors, do generate a significant income into the local economy.

The Organising Team plan to return in 2019 with our 40th Anniversary Somerset Stages Rally, again using the Forestry Commission gravel roads, the Porlock Toll road, and a section of closed public road, if at all possible.

When the 2018 championships and rule changes have all been confirmed, we will announce our plans for 2019. In the meantime we would like to thank all those who have supported the event since its inception in 1977.

Howard West  –  Event Director
Jason Hayes  –  Clerk of the Course

PHOTO: The 2016 event winner Luke Francis / John H Roberts in their Evo9 – courtesy Gasmark Media.

WATCHET BOWLING CLUB STARTS TO REALISE ITS DREAM

Watchet’s ambitions to have a state-of-the-art Bowling Club are closer to being realised thanks to a £50,500 grant from a Leisure Fund secured from the Hinkley Point C project which is administered by West Somerset Council.

Watchet Bowling Club is keen to transform its facilities and provide a high-quality community venue for the area and the money will go towards the first phase of the project to replace old garages with a new indoor bowling rink.

The high-achieving club has a real track record: the women players reached the semi-finals of two trophies last season, while the men won the league and also swept the board in county competitions.

A new indoor rink will give the club the space for county-level competitions and make it possible for games to be played simultaneously, rather than have to wait for the one rink to become available.

The club has now gained planning consent for this project and is hoping the community will also support the initiative through the newly launched Somerset West Lottery. The club is one of the local good causes that will benefit from the weekly draws.

Tickets for the lottery are now available to buy and the first weekly draw takes place on 29 Jul, with a top prize of £25,000 on offer and a two-night stay in The Royal Seven Stars Hotel in Totnes as an additional bonus prize for this first draw. The lottery is a joint West Somerset Council and Taunton Deane Borough Council project to help community initiatives.

The Bowling Club started out on its journey to transform its premises four years ago and, after consulting the community, drew up plans to improve its own facilities while also providing a real community hub for educational, recreational, sporting and social activities for all age groups.

The initiative has three main strands:

  • replacement of garages with a new  indoor double rink bowling green with associated facilities
  • internal and external alterations to the existing clubhouse to provide a quality community venue able to accommodate 150 people
  • erection of an extension to provide a gym

The club is working in partnership with Somerset Activity and Sports Partnership and local providers and clubs.

The successful bid for funding from West Somerset Council will be followed by bids to other funding pots including Sport England, Power to Change and the Big Lottery.

Club treasurer, Marilyn Binding, said: “Watchet has no community venue able to accommodate large numbers. Our improved venue will fill this gap and it will provide somewhere for all sectors of the local community to take part in a wide range of activities.

“Our proposed project will act as an accessible and inviting focal point for our current population and newcomers moving here to work at Hinkley Point and join in with what is happening locally.

“The centre will make the most of the opportunity to target both workers themselves and their friends and families – encouraging them to participate together in community activities, including healthy living, educational, social and leisure activities.”

Cllr David Westcott, Lead Member for communities with West Somerset Council, said: “This is an ambitious project with a real community focus that will provide Watchet with facilities that many larger towns would envy.

“The Club has also shown the initiative to make a successful bid for funding from our Leisure Fund and to become one of the good causes supported by our local lottery.”

SOMERSET CCC AND MILES PARTNERSHIP RENEWED

Local Tea & Coffee merchant Miles continues to work with Somerset CCC following a successful year.

The Miles directors have announced a commitment to another year of partnership with the Somerset County Cricket ground. This will involve sampling on selected days throughout the year, competitions and exclusivity across the tea sector. Miles award winning tea blends will be available at outlets in the ground.

This is an exciting year for the County ground, with an International game and the Women’s World cup.

Sam Burton, Marketing Manager at Miles, said, “Following continued investment in our Somerset production sites, this partnership provides us with a perfect opportunity to share our passion for quality tea and provide a future for employment in our rural area. We are all excited to be working with Somerset CCC in such an historic year and congratulate them on hosting the Women’s World Cup and an international game.

Jez Curwin, Head of Commercial Operations at Somerset County Cricket Club, said, “We are delighted to continue to work alongside Miles Tea & Coffee as a local business, a good cuppa and cricket make the perfect combination. We are looking forward to developing a long working relationship.”

 

KING’S GIRLS RETAIN ISFA U18 TITLE

King’s College, Taunton set a new record when they won the Independent Schools’ Football Association (ISFA) Girls’ Under 18 eleven-a-side cup by beating ACS International School Cobham 9-1 in the final at the home of Thame United at the end of April.

King’s became the first team in the history of the competition to retain this national title. In addition, this is the third time in the past four seasons that they have lifted the trophy, underlining  the status of King’s College, Taunton as the leading independent school in England for girls’ football.

On the first evening, King’s dominated proceedings from start to finish, and by half time led 4-0 thanks to goals from Lucie Waddon (2), Karolayne Alencar and Sarah Hill.

After the break, King’s extended their lead, with goals from substitute Lannece Hole, Beth Barzotelli, Kayane Alencar, Captain Beth Beale and Sarah Hill, before Repton pulled one back late in the game.

Chris Heayns, the Director of Football at King’s Schools, said: “This is a very special group of players who have worked hard and come together to produce some outstanding football. In doing so, they have set an excellent example to the younger players following them through school. They fully deserve this success.”

The football program at King’s has come a long way under Chris Heayns, who has been in charge for eight years. The program continues to evolve to provide the right opportunities, and to ensure the experience for each player is the best it can be.

“We want every player to achieve the very best he or she can be, at the same time getting a sound education and enjoying all of the other opportunities the school offers,” said Chris.

“Many of the girls play in women’s football leagues and there is no doubt that our links with Exeter City Ladies and other clubs has been a valuable part of their development. Three girls who were part of the winning side joined our Sixth Form on scholarships two years ago. In September will be taking up scholarships in North America.”

King’s are once again offering Sixth Form Scholarships worth up to 50% in a range of subjects for candidates who have the talent and the aspiration and show outstanding potential in their field, who would like to join Year 12 in September 2017.

As well as receiving top-class coaching to develop their particular skills, all pupils at King’s benefit from being part of an exceptionally happy and caring community. The school offers highly regarded academic subjects that universities prefer, small class sizes, and teachers who inspire pupils to reach their full academic potential. There is a range of excellent facilities, a broad offering of co-curricular activities, and opportunities to stretch pupils academically, which include visits, seminars, clubs and societies that are open to all.

Anyone who would like to find out more should make contact with the school’s Registrar, Kate Rippin, on 01823 328204 or visit www.kings-taunton.co.uk

 

SOMERSET STAGES SUCCESS FOR PETCH

Durham rally driver Stephen Petch took a well-deserved victory at the Minehead-based Somerset Stages Rally on Saturday 8 April, but had to fight hard on all 14 stages to bring his Ford Fiesta WRC home in the top spot.

On paper, Petch looked to have dominated the dusty Exmoor forest stages but he didn’t have it all his own way during the event. Despite opening up an early event lead, Petch and co-driver Michael Wilkinson were challenged all day long by Callum Black and Elliott Edmondson in their Fiesta R5. Petch finally took the win after Black lost time in the closing loop of the day with power steering failure.  2013 rally winners Connor McCloskey and John Rowan made the worthwhile trip over from Ireland to round off the top three in their Fiesta WRC.

The seaside resort welcomed the 100 crews who started the Burnham-on-Sea Motor Club and Minehead Motor Club organised event, bolstered by crews from the Ravenol BTRDA Rally Series, MAXXIS MSA English Rally Championship, REIS ASWMC Loose Surface Rally Championship and FMP Rally Challenge.

The thousands of spectators that headed to Kennisham Forest to watch the action were in for a treat and number one seeds Luke Francis and John Roberts would be hoping to repeat their 2016 event win. Sadly they got off to a slow start, finding themselves languishing down in fifth place on the opening test of the day.

Ironically, the top three stage times on the opening stage would be the same order they finished, with Petch opening out a slender two-second lead over Black with McCloskey one second down. Not only that, but the top three positioned remained that way throughout the morning loop and, despite the efforts of others, no one could unseat the Fiesta trio on the gravel.

It would, however, change on the Porlock Hill stage when McCloskey lost time thanks to an ineffective handbrake and it gave others a chance to step into the frame. Hugh Hunter and Rob Fagg made a brief appearance in third sport with yet another Fiesta R5 but were edged out on the second run by Francis who was attempting a comeback.

Sadly Francis retired on the very next stage, leaving the door open for McCloskey to re-join the podium positions for the remainder of the day. But up front the battle had become intense and, with Black on a charge, he and Petch were now tied on times.  They remained neck and neck through stages eight and nine, with Black only losing out by one second in the tenth.

But Black’s impressive run would be undone with power steering failure in stage 13, losing over 20 seconds in the process, leaving Petch to take the event win by 11 seconds and spray the winners champagne on Minehead Seafront.

“This win could have gone in anyone’s favour today and it’s been a really close fought battle with Callum,” said Petch at the finish. “It’s great to finally win here and at one point I thought Callum and I would be equal coming back to the finish. He was really unlucky this afternoon. I’m no stranger to tie-breaks on the Somerset Stages though, losing out to Steve Perez on the countback rule in 2013 so it’s fantastic to finally get the win. It’s actually been a really tough rally so I’m glad we have come out on top.”

Hugh Hunter began to pick up the pace after the asphalt tests at Porlock and brought his Fiesta R5 home in a worthy fourth spot as the Ruthin driver continues to get to grips with the new car.

Taunton’s Martyn and Dawn England had the honour of being first local home on the event, finishing in fifth spot in their Fiesta R5+. England was happy with his progress through the day and, despite a “scrappy” opening few stages, settled down in the afternoon to climb the leader board from 16th spot after stage three.

The Production Cup battle for “showroom specification” models has always been impressive and this year’s Somerset Stages was no exception. Patrick Naylor and Ian Lawrence took the spoils in sixth overall, leading the trio of Mitsubishi E9’s of Russ Thompson / Andy Murphy and Richard Hill / Steffan Evans in eighth.

Tom Preston and Andrew Roughead took ninth overall in their Skoda Fabia R5 with Sacha Kakad and James Aldridge rounding out the top ten in their Mitsubishi E10.

In a rally of attrition, only 60 of the 100 starters made it back to Minehead and the tough Exmoor forests proved to be hard on cars and crews during the event.

More information on the event and full results will be available at www.somersetstagesrally.com

www.facebook.com/somersetstages

www.twitter.com/somersetstages

PHOTO: 2017 Somerset Stages winners in action – Stephen Petch and Michael Wilkinson in their Fiesta WRC. Courtesy of Gasmark Media.

EXCITEMENT BUILDS FOR SOMERSET STAGES

Just a quick post to wish all entrants the best of luck tomorrow!! Hope you have a fantastic day here in West Somerset.

Over 100 crews from across the UK will head to Minehead this weekend as the Somerset Stages Rally returns to the seaside resort for its annual event on Saturday 8 April.

Organised by Burnham-on-Sea Motor Club and Minehead Motor Club, the event forms the second round of the RAVENOL BTRDA Rally Series and the opening round of the Maxxis Tyres MSA English Rally Championship which once again brings some of the best rally drivers to the region.

Crews from the national championships are joined by contenders in the Reis Motorsport Insurance ASWMC Loose Surface Rally Championship and FMP Rally Challenge; ensuring spectators are in for a real treat during the day in the Exmoor forests.

Wearing the coveted number one on the door this year will be 2016 event winners Luke Francis and co-driver John H Roberts from North Wales who bring their potent Mitsubishi E9 to the South West.

The duo will be hoping to repeat their dominant performance from last year and boost their BTRDA title chances.  Northumberland’s Stephen Petch and Michael Wilkinson follow at number two in their Ford Fiesta WRC. Petch admits to be still getting used to the powerful machine but will certainly be looking for outright victory in Minehead.

Callum Black and Elliott Edmondson start the event at number three seed in their Fiesta R5. The newly formed duo have impressed so far this season and will be looking for a podium spot at the weekend.

Karl and Guy Simmons have swapped their Citroen DS3 R5 for a WRC for the event and start the event at four. David Wright and Steve Pugh lead a duo of crowd-pleasing Ford Focus WRCs and are seeded at five with Hugh Hunter and Rob Fagg just behind at six in a similar machine.

2013 event winner Connor McCloskey and John Rowan will return to the event at seven and make the trip over from Northern Ireland in their Fiesta WRC. Scotsman Fred Milne makes the long drive south to Somerset in his Mitsubishi E9 to start at car eight with co-driver Jamie Edwards alongside.

Tom Preston starts at nine in his Skoda Fabia R5 with co-driver Andrew Roughead; the Somerset Stages saw the debut of the car last year.

Rounding off the top ten are local crew Martyn and Dawn England from Illminster. The husband and wife team were another to debut their Ford Fiesta R5+ on the event last year and recorded an impressive set of times, finishing fourth overall in the process.

Other local entries include Michael Threlfall and Mulberry Threlfall-Eyres from Taunton who will compete in their Mitsubishi Evo X. Threlfall last contested the Somerset Stages in 2013 and will be looking to go one better than the retirement sustained that year. They start the event at car 22.

Look a little further down the list and you will see another Threlfall name, this time sons Harry and Alfie in a Renault Twingo R1. Harry was once a regular in the British Rally Championship, but returns to the sport after two years away to complete his University degree.

The event also plays host to the Army Land Rover team who bring six of the impressive machines to Somerset.  A favorite with spectators, the crews often put other more suitable cars to shame and are worth staying to the end of the field to watch.

The bulk of the event mileage takes place in the Exmoor forests and The Beach Hotel will house Rally Headquarters during the event. Teams will base themselves along the Minehead seafront for the scheduled services throughout the day.

The field will be flagged away from the ceremonial start on Warren Road Seafront bright and early at 8am on Saturday.

For something a bit more fast paced, the spectator stage in the Kennisham forest complex is the place to go, offering the chance to see the action twice during the day. The first run through the stage kicks off at around 9.45am and provides around an hour and a half of action with the second run of the stage at 2pm.

Those fortunate enough to complete the event will get the chance to celebrate at 3.45pm with the ceremonial finish on the Minehead Seafront (Warren Road), with the winning crews spraying champagne to celebrate victory.

More information is available at www.somersetstagesrally.com and you can keep up to date with all the latest news on the event Facebook and Twitter feeds.

www.facebook.com/thesomersetstages
www.twitter.com/somersetstages

Good luck everyone!

PHOTO: The 2016 event winner Luke Francis / John H Roberts in their Evo9 – courtesy Gasmark Media.

 

SOMERSET STAGES RETURNS TO MINEHEAD

Minehead will once again play host to the only loose surface stage rally in the South of the UK as the Somerset Stages Rally returns to the town for its eighth April event.

As the competition released its regulations last week, organisers confirmed their offering of 42 competitive stage miles in the Brendon Hills and Exmoor National Park. The event will welcome competitors from the Ravenol BTRDA Rally Series, MAXXIS Tyres MSA English Rally Championship and REIS Motorsport Insurance ASWMC Loose Surface Rally Championship.

Comprising familiar forest roads on Exmoor, the 2017 Somerset Stages Rally will also consist of the unique 3.73 mile test along the all-asphalt Porlock Toll Road (run twice) which inevitably provides a challenge for the predominately loose surface contenders. Once again The Beach Hotel will play host to Rally Headquarters during the event and rally teams will base themselves along the Minehead seafront for the scheduled services throughout the day.

Over 100 of the UK’s best rally drivers will head to the West Country to tackle the rally which was named as the best ASWMC event in 2016 and event organisers Burnham-on-Sea Motor Club and Minehead Motor Club believe they have all the ingredients for a great rally for both competitors and fans alike.

“We have a fantastic base for the rally thanks to West Somerset District Council, Somerset County Council, Minehead Town Council and the Minehead Events Group,” says Jason Hayes Clerk of the Course. “The town provides an excellent backdrop to host the rally and certainly creates a fantastic atmosphere during the weekend.  Competitors and fans love it as well with spectators being able to get up close to the teams at the seafront service area as well as the start and finish celebrations along the seafront.”

And the stages are promising to provide crews with a challenge on all of the events 14 stages. “We have tried to provide a bit of variety again this year and have come up with a format that means we can have a few longer stages.  Add to that the challenging Porlock Toll Road stages and the event should provide both seasoned competitors and newcomers to the sport a thrilling day’s motor sport.”

There will be plenty of opportunities for fans to get a slice of the action with a Spectator Stage in the Kennisham forest complex, offering the chance to see the action twice during the day.

More information is available at www.somersetstagesrally.com and you can keep up to date with all the latest news on the event Facebook and Twitter feeds.
www.facebook.com/thesomersetstages
www.twitter.com/somersetstages
PHOTO: The 2016 event winner Luke Francis / John H Roberts in their Evo9 – please credit to Gasmark Media.

INVITATION TO VIEW AND COMMENT ON NORTH DEVON LEISURE CENTRE PLANS

North Devon Council would like to know what local people think of plans to extend the Tarka Tennis Centre to include a new eight-lane 25m pool, learner pool and fitness gym, exercise studios, sports hall and a full-size 3G artificial grass pitch.

The council is holding a public consultation event at North Devon Leisure Centre from 10am-9pm on Wednesday 22 February, to find out how local people use their leisure facilities and what they will need within the new facilities to make their experiences better. The architects, leisure consultant and council staff will be on hand to discuss the project and record public opinion.

Executive Member for Parks, Leisure and Culture, Councillor Dick Jones, says: “Our plans for a new leisure centre are picking up pace. In January we appointed a leisure consultant and architect and we now wish to consult the public on our design concepts before we move forward. We want to make sure we’re including the right mix of leisure facilities and to do so we need to hear from the people who plan to use the centre.

“North Devon Leisure Centre is coming to the end of its life and we have a great opportunity now to deliver a replacement facility that meets the needs of as many people as possible. Realistically, we won’t be able to meet everyone’s aspirations – we know we can’t afford to replace everything we have in the existing leisure centre and building a 50m pool, for example, is just too expensive to deliver. Please pop down to the leisure centre on 22 February to let us know what you think.”

If the council is successful in its bids for Sport England funding and can obtain planning consent, construction of the new pool and leisure facilities at Tarka Tennis Centre could begin in Autumn 2018 and be complete by Summer 2020.

If you can’t make it to the event but would like to comment on the new facilities, you will be able to fill in an online form at www.northdevon.gov.uk/consultations from Wednesday 22 February.