Funding guarantee for Jurassic Coast centre
14:34 12 May 2014
Work to start on Seaton’s £4million flagship building next month
Councillors have moved to ensure that all the necessary funding for Seaton’s £4million Jurassic Coast visitor centre will be available.
East Devon District Council’s Cabinet agreed last week to underwrite a possible small shortfall of £165,000 in the capital cost.
The move is designed to demonstrate to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), which will make its decision on a second stage application for £621,000, that all the remaining funding is in place for the scheme.
Councillor Ian Thomas, cabinet member for economy, said: “With the successful Coastal Communities Fund award, announced in February, Seaton Jurassic passed a crucial milestone. The project now has a head of steam behind it with only a matter of weeks before work starts on site. “This is fantastic news for Seaton and the surrounding area, especially all who are working so hard to make the dream a reality. By underwriting this relatively small shortfall we help ensure the best possible chance of securing a further major grant from HLF and give another huge boost to the project.”
Detailed and costed plans are already in place for the design, interpretation, marketing and running of the Seaton Jurassic centre. Officials expect to announce the contractor in the coming weeks with construction expected to start on the site at The Underfleet in July. Devon Wildlife Trust will be the centre operator.
The total project will cost just over £4 million including an appropriate contingency. Phase one makes up the bulk of the project and includes the construction of the centre and its fit-out costing a total of around £3.7million. Phase two adds an extension of the outdoor space with a direct link to the Axe Estuary Wetlands at a cost of about £320,000.
The project has now secured over £3 million of funding including £1.9million from East Devon District Council and further contributions from Devon County Council and Seaton Town Council.
A first stage application to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) was also successful with the outcome of a second stage application to HLF expected in June. Planning consent for the building was approved in June 2013.
Seaton Jurassic will tell the uniquely powerful story of the geology and wildlife of the Jurassic Coast, England’s first Natural World Heritage Site. The Centre will contribute to the regeneration of the town by attracting thousands more visitors. Seaton Jurassic will be highly engaging and interactive and aims to immerse the visitor with its interpretation of the area’s natural and marine heritage.