Successful funding bid secures £1.2M for new Northam Burrows Centre building.
The Ministry of Housing, Communities, and Local Government have announced that Torridge is to receive £1.2M towards the building of a new interpretation and activity hub on Northam Burrows following the Council’s submission of a bid for money from the Coastal Communities Fund.
Northam Burrows is a unique and protected country park and the home of many rare species of birds, animals and plants which has earned it the designation of a “Site of Scientific Interest” (SSSI) also forming part of North Devon’s UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. This special combination of wildlife and stunning scenery already attracts around 300,000 visitors a year, who come to enjoy and reconnect with nature. Although much used by Torridge residents the Burrows is also an important anchor in the local tourism industry benefitting many businesses in and around the area.
The new year round centre will continue this legacy but will add many new features to the existing but now outdated facilities. The new set-up will include exhibition spaces, a café and shop with fantastic views out onto the surrounding scenery, flexible space for community events, beach user facilities such as outdoor showers and lockers as well as viewing platforms connecting people to the environment in all weathers. The building will also provide a base for the park rangers who manage the area providing guided tours for visitors and school groups, as well as undertaking important conservation and general maintenance work, and as a base for the AONB and Biosphere Reserve teams for their environmental protection work. The new centre will also provide disabled access and parking which is not currently available. The total cost of the project is budgeted at £2.1M, with the balance of the match funding already agreed and in place.
The innovative design for the new building also includes a range of environmental technologies including high levels of insulation, natural ventilation, air source heat pumps, and grey water recycling to name just a few. These are all designed to reduce any environmental impact and to maintain this during its operation in the coming years.
Torridge’s Head of Paid Service – Jenny Wallace said: “The competition for funding is always intense, so to receive such a significant sum is fantastic news for everyone involved. There was a real team effort in making the case for a grant, with officers from the Council working closely with many organisations including an important contribution from the area’s economic delivery agency, North Devon Plus. The new facilities will hopefully also be a catalyst for many much needed jobs for the area, both directly within the centre itself, and indirectly in the important tourism sector of our economy whilst strengthening the protection of our natural assets. Everyone is really excited about the potential of all of this and we hope that residents and tourists alike will be able to enjoy the benefits of this major investment in the near future.”