Image of layout of proposed new pool and leisure at Tarka Tennis Centre

The existing North Devon Leisure Centre is coming to the end of its viable life and is planned to be closed in 2020.

We are about to start a competitive procurement exercise to identify a private sector partner who will design and build a new leisure centre as an extension to Tarka Tennis Centre. This partner will then operate and maintain the new facility for the first 20 years after opening. The aim is that this preferred partner will take much of the risk associated with construction costs and will repay the council a large proportion of the cost of building the new facilities over the first 20 years that they are run. As such all facilities within the new building have been analysed using a business model to ensure the cost of borrowing the money required for that facility can be re-paid through usage fees/charges. Facilities are being designed to ensure flexible use for as many sports as possible.

Our architects have produced a concept design for a new leisure centre. These designs include:

  • 8-lane 25m competition pool with learner pool and spectator seating
  • 125-station fitness gym
  • Two multi-purpose exercise studios
  • 4-court sports hall
  • Full-size 3G artificial grass pitch

We do not have enough capital funding available to replace all the facilities within North Devon Leisure Centre - especially those that have low usage and are therefore financially unsustainable. We have completed a Sport England compliant Strategic Needs Assessment to rationalise the facility mix and ensure that all facilities are sustainable for the future. This has enabled us to produce the benchmark list of facilities above that we aim will be built by our private sector partner for the loan that we can afford to take out. There will be a funding gap and we are exploring various funding sources to bridge that gap, including Sport England Strategic Facilities Fund amongst others, to ensure the project is delivered. As part of the procurement process we will be encouraging our private sector partner to add value to this mix as part of their bids where possible. The current timescales are that the outline planning permission, procurement exercise and finance package will be finalised and ready for council consideration in Autumn 2018. We are aiming to open the new facilities in Summer 2020, at which point the existing Leisure Centre will be closed and potentially sold off to help pay for the new facilities.

We want to establish your thoughts about the proposed facility mix and find out what is required within the facilities to ensure they meet your needs. The concept designs are attached as pdfs:

New Swimming Pool Feasibility Study

Options report from Saunders Boston architects

Assessment of need report

Report into need for replacement of facilities North Devon Leisure Centre

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