Category Archives: Public Spaces & Amenities

SPORT ENGLAND FUNDING SUCCESS FOR NEW LEISURE CENTRE

North Devon Council has been awarded £1.75m of National Lottery funding from Sport England towards a project to replace the ageing North Devon Leisure Centre in Barnstaple. This latest news comes hot on the heels of the council’s successful bid for £1.5m from the Coastal Communities Fund.

With this funding in place the council has now requested final tenders from the leisure operators who are currently vying for the contract to design, build and manage the new leisure centre at Seven Brethren. The council has requested tenders to include a minimum of a 25-metre, eight-lane pool, learner pool, sports hall, fitness suite and exercise studios on land adjoining the tennis centre. The exact design and final mix of facilities will be determined by the leisure operator who wins the contract, as long as they meet the council’s minimum requirements.

The contract will also include operating Tarka Tennis Centre and Ilfracombe Pool and Fitness Centre for the next 20 years. The successful leisure operator is expected to be selected in the next month.

Leader of North Devon Council, Councillor David Worden, says: “This is superb news! I’m so pleased to hear we’ve been successful in both our funding bids, which is testament to the hard work of the team delivering the project. Both funders have recognised how important swimming is to our community and we will press on now to deliver a top-notch pool and leisure facilities we can all be proud of at Tarka Tennis Centre. Thanks to Sport England and all the National Lottery players.”

Work has already begun to replace one of the grass football pitches at Tarka Tennis Centre with a full-size artificial grass pitch, following more successful funding bids to The Premier League and FA Facilities Fund and Devon County Council.

Follow the progress of the new leisure centre project by signing up to the council’s blog www.newleisurecentre.wordpress.com/ or look out for updates on Facebook (@northdevoncouncil) or Twitter (@ndevoncouncil).

WINTER WORK PLANNED AT ROTARY GARDENS IN BARNSTAPLE

Further improvements at Rotary Gardens in Pilton will continue over the winter months.

North Devon Council’s parks team will be replacing some of the shrub beds, adding more colour with new herbaceous planting and installing some more seating around the gardens for visitors to enjoy.

A number of low-quality trees will also be taken out to open up the views around the pond area and will be replaced with more suitable tree species elsewhere in the gardens. This is the latest in a series of improvements in the park, including a tree trail, interpretation boards and memorial plinth.

Executive Member for Parks, Leisure and Culture with North Devon Council, Councillor Dick Jones, says: “We like to let local residents know if we’re planning any tree work, so they don’t get alarmed. The trees we’re taking out are not of great value and aren’t suitable species for their setting. Those we take out will all be replaced with better specimens, more appropriate to the park and will much improve the look and diversity of the gardens in the future. I’m sure the extra seating will be appreciated, as it’s such a lovely space to sit and enjoy the views.”

Local ward member for Pilton, Councillor Mair Manuel, says: “We have been working together for some years on improving Rotary Gardens for the benefit of residents, visitors and community groups. The changes so far are very obvious and this additional work will further enhance the gardens, with the seating placed to take advantage of the tidying up that has been done, the new plantings and opening up of the views. All will add to the beauty of Rotary Gardens and confirm it as a great asset for the community of Pilton.”

Stay up to date with news and events from the council’s parks team on Facebook (www.facebook.com/northdevoncouncil) or follow @ndevoncouncil on Twitter.

HAVE YOUR SAY ON MINEHEAD ESPLANADE

People in Minehead with an interest in seeing the resort’s visitor appeal strengthened have the chance to help shape the Enterprising Minehead project.

The aim during the next phase is to enhance the Eastern Esplanade – the section near the West Somerset Railway terminus – with ideas starting to come forward.

Minehead Coastal Communities Team (MCCT) – the organisation that has the funding to spend – is now inviting people to come forward and have their say before any hard and fast decisions are made.

An initial meeting has been held with community groups’ representatives when some positive ideas were tabled – now the consultation is being opened up more widely.

Mood boards featuring concepts that could be brought to life will be on show at Minehead Tourist Information Centre (TIC), along with a questionnaire for feedback and suggestions.

The consultation will run from 10-15 April and the TIC’s opening hours are: Tuesday – Saturday 10am – 4pm and Sunday 11am – 4pm.

“I really hope people will come along, share their ideas and get involved. A tremendous amount of hard work went in to winning the funding in the face of some strong competition.

“This is a once-in-a-generation chance to harness that funding and make it work hard for the benefit of Minehead, its residents and economy. We have great community spirit here in West Somerset – let’s see it in action,” said Cllr Roger Thomas, who chairs MCCT.

Details of the consultation and background information and images can be found on MCCT’s Facebook page: www.facebook.com/MineheadCCT

LINK ROAD TARGETED IN CLEAN-UP

A major litter pick along the North Devon Link Road has been completed, with more than seven and a half tonnes of rubbish collected.

The clean-up marked the start of the Love Where You Live campaign, which sees North Devon Council come together with the local McDonald’s franchise.

Over the last five weeks, council staff collected 1,441 bags of rubbish along a 34 mile stretch of road. Among the items they picked up were general builder’s rubble and fast food packaging, as well as more personal items, such as six bank cards and one passport. The crew was also on hand to stop and assist police and a recovery team, following a road accident at the Lake Roundabout last month.

Executive Member for Environment, Councillor Rodney Cann, says, “I’m always staggered by how much rubbish is carelessly thrown out of vehicle windows or dumped at the roadside. If we’re going to protect the area we live in, we need a change in culture and that means people’s attitudes to litter have to change. This clean-up is a big operation, which takes up a lot of time and resources and ultimately costs council taxpayers’ money. The crew’s done a great job and now that the road is looking cleaner, I hope people will help to keep it litter-free.”

Local McDonald’s franchisee, David Hunt, says, “Once again, we are proud to sponsor the Love Where You Live campaign. Unfortunately, some of the litter that is dropped along the link road is fast-food packaging. Therefore, by being involved in this campaign, we want to highlight to the wider public that it’s simply not acceptable to drop any litter. Quite simply, if we are all responsible together, we can help prevent litter from building up in the first place.”

It’s the third time McDonald’s has contributed towards the Link Road clean-up, with last year’s efforts resulting in more than 1,000 bags of litter being collected by the council. The Love Where You Live campaign will continue with further community litter picks, again supported by McDonald’s, held later in the year.

The campaign feeds into the council’s ongoing scheme ‘Team Up to Clean Up’, which encourages the wider public to organise their own community litter pick events across North Devon. As part of this, the council can offer advice and loan equipment to groups committed to keeping neighbourhoods, beaches and public open spaces clean and litter-free. For more information about Team Up To Clean Up, please email helen.morse@northdevon.gov.uk.

PHOTO: Cllr Rodney Cann, McDonald’s franchisee David Hunt and Helen Morse from NDC at the launch of the clean-up.