New North Devon leisure centre contract awarded and facilities announced

New leisure centre designImage courtesy of Watson Batty Architects

Posted on: 24 September 2019

The contract to design, build and manage North Devon’s new leisure centre at Seven Brethren has been awarded.

North Devon Council has awarded the contract to Parkwood Leisure Ltd who will take over the operation of the new leisure centre on land adjoining Tarka Tennis. Construction is expected to begin in Spring 2020 and be complete by Autumn 2022.

The design of the new centre includes:

  • 25m eight-lane pool and 20m four-lane learner pool, both with movable floors, spectator seating and competition timing system
  • sports hall with four courts, suitable for various sports
  • a large gym
  • three exercise studios, two with virtual technology
  • Devon’s first endless ski slope for indoor skiing, snowboarding and tobogganing
  • indoor soft play and outdoor play area,
  • a new reception area and cafe serving both the leisure and tennis centre with a view of the pools, ski area, sports hall and play areas

Leader of North Devon Council, Councillor David Worden, says: “Replacing the existing leisure centre has been our ambition for the past 10 years, so awarding this contract is a huge milestone for the project. The new leisure centre will have one of only a handful of endless ski slopes in the UK.  The slopes allow novices to learn the basics of winter sports and more experienced users to ski advanced runs on virtual screens and are already used in countries such as Austria for ski training in the summer months.  The new facilities, along with our recently completed artificial grass pitch, fantastic tennis centre and Falcons Gymnastics Academy next door, mean that North Devon will have some of the finest sports facilities in the South West. This “bucks the trend” at a time when many authorities are having to rationalise their leisure stock and are closing old facilities.”

Chairman of the Council, Councillor Frank Biederman, says: “A lot of hard work has gone into the project to get it right. The swimming pool specification has been put together in consultation with our local surf-lifesaving and swimming clubs.  It has been designed to improve the swimming offered to both club users and casual swimmers. A feature of the new pools is movable floors which allow the pool depths to be increased to 1.8 meters for surf-life saving training, competitions and water polo, which is deeper than the standard depths of new pools specified normally by Sport England and Swim England.”

Parkwood Leisure will be sub-contracting the contract to its subsidiary company Lex Leisure. Glen Hall, Managing Director of Parkwood Leisure, says: “We’re really excited to have been selected to design, build and manage the new leisure facilities in Seven Brethren. We have an excellent long standing partnership with North Devon Council and have been working closely with them to determine our proposed plans. We look forward to continue to work in partnership and bring our extensive leisure management experience to deliver this exciting project for the benefit of the local community.”

The new leisure contract is also good news for Ilfracombe as the existing swimming pool and fitness centre are included in the 20 year operating contract, providing sustainable facilities for North Devon.

Sport England has provided £1.75m of National Lottery funding towards the project and £1.5m has been granted by the Coastal Communities Fund. S106* contributions have also been put towards the build costs.

Follow the progress of the new leisure centre project by signing up to the council’s blog or look out for updates on Facebook or Twitter.

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Posted in: Leisure