Friday, November 6, 2009

Surf Museum heads to Saunton Sands

The Museum of British Surfing is in talks with the owners of one of North Devon’s best beaches about creating a permanent home for the collection close to the surf. If all goes to plan a new sustainable ‘eco building’ will take shape at Saunton Sands, one of the country’s most popular surf spots. “It has always been my dream to have the surf museum down on the beach – it’s the natural home for it,” said founder Pete Robinson, who lives in Braunton. “Saunton is a fantastic surfing break and is probably the most accessible in the North Devon area so it is a perfect fit for us.” The museum has just had two development grants approved totalling more than £33,000 from the Leader 4 programme and the North Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’s sustainable development fund, and is currently seeking tenders for its interior design, feasibility, branding and online contracts. Planning permission had been granted earlier this year for the charity to open the UK’s first surf museum in a big industrial unit at nearby Braunton, but the offer of a potential home at the beach was too good to turn down. “We believe we can create a low impact building using materials like natural timbers and renewable energy sources that will compliment the area while still bringing a vibrant 21st century visitor attraction to the West Country,” said Mr Robinson, 48, an award-winning former ITV News reporter. Landowners the Christie Estate, the trustees of the Museum of British Surfing and designers, are looking at various plots around the Saunton car park before starting work on a formal planning application. The museum is also examining the possibility of extending the Tarka Trail in partnership with the leading sustainable transport charity Sustrans, so that people could cycle or walk between Braunton and Saunton – all part of its plan to become a carbon neutral operation. It’s estimated that as many as 700,000 people a year visit Saunton beach. The surf museum project is being supported by the economic development team at North Devon+, and several local businesses have stepped forward to offer their help including footPRINT Energy from Croyde and accountants Perrins Limited in Barnstaple.

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