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U-turn over car park closure

11:10 28 August 2014

Seaton

Seaton's Jurassic Coast visitor centre due to open next year

Archant

Seaton’s Underfleet park will now stay open during work on the Jurassic Coast Centre

Seaton’s Underfleet car park will stay open throughout the summer season while work goes on to build the new Jurassic Coast visitor Centre.

To minimise disruption during the holiday, project managers have re-jigged the programme slightly to allow the road reconfiguration to take place alongside the site set-up.

This means the car park will remain operational over the coming weeks without any change to the completion date - which is still expected to be summer 2015 with a ‘soft opening’ in the autumn.

Cllr Ian Thomas, East Devon District Council’s cabinet member for economy, said: “We’ve tried to be as flexible as possible to allow Seaton Carnival to use the car park and for the main summer season to have passed.

“However, it is important to do this without delaying completion of the first hub so that there is the potential to open the shop and cafe next summer.

“Seaton Jurassic will be a major attraction to the town so while we are keen to get it open as soon as we can, we do not want to compromise on quality or cut any corners.”

When work begins, fencing will appear around the site, temporary offices will be installed and approximately a week to ten days later the current entrance to the car park will close with a new entrance opened at the far end with access to the car park that will remain throughout the building work and after the centre opens.

Devon Wildlife Trust, who will manage the centre, has been working alongside EDDC and Kier, the appointed contractor, on the finer details of the building programme.

Harry Barton, chief executive of DWT, said: “This a major project with a very complex building programme. We’re doing everything we can to deliver the project on time whilst minimising disruption. It will be well worth it once this fantastic new asset to the town is up and running”

Seaton Jurassic has secured almost £4million of funding with contributions from East Devon District Council, Devon County Council, Seaton Town Council, Heritage Lottery Fund, Coastal Communities Fund, Garfield Weston Foundation and Fine Family Foundation.

Planning consent for the project was given in June 2013. Devon Wildlife Trust is going to manage the centre. Seaton Jurassic has benefited from tremendous support locally with the Seaton Visitor Centre Trust and the Jurassic Coast World Heritage team campaigning for many years. Local people will be key to the centre’s success going forward with opportunities to be involved as volunteers, fundraisers and ambassadors.

Seaton Jurassic will take visitors on a unique journey back in time to experience the story of evolution, wildlife and geology and is expected to attract some 60,000 visitors per year generating around £4m a year to the tourist economy.

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