|Weymouth & Portland Borough Council
“Start on Site….Chesil Beach Centre Extension”
Work started on the expansion of the Chesil Beach Visitor Centre on 7 November 2011.
Contractors Morgan Sindell, based at Poole, have been appointed to complete this project in time for Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012.
The proposed expansion of the Chesil Beach Centre has been planned for many years and will provide a range of additional facilities; notably improved educational facilities, indoor catering and enhanced interpretation. The necessary permissions, licences and funding are now in place, so that development can start.
Dorset Wildlife Trust will manage the Centre and its immediate environment and one positive aspect of the scheme is the proposed boardwalk which will link the new visitor centre across to Chesil Beach, easing access to the beach for local people, visitors and those with disabilities, at all states on the tide.
As an integral part of the project, Dorset County Council is providing the new entranceway into the Chesil Beach car park. This will not only provide extra amenity space near the centre, but most importantly will improve access into the site from the Portland end of the Beach Road.
Whilst the aim is for the new extension to be completed by July 2012, the new environmental interpretation linked to the Jurassic Coast the local & marine environment and Portland will follow on and therefore temporary displays will be in place for 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games time.
This exciting partnership project is being co-funded by a wide range of organisations, including an award of £550,000 from Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), The Crown Estate, the Fine Family Foundation, Dorset County Council, the Garfield Weston Foundation, the Portland Gas Trust, Weymouth and Portland Borough Council, Dorset Wildlife Trust, and the Jurassic Coast Project.
Councillor Howard Legg, 2012 and Special Project Briefholder for the Borough Council said:
“This extension to the Chesil Beach Centre to provide much improved facilities has been a long time in its planning and I am absolutely delighted that we are now making a start and that the project, at the gateway entrance to Portland, will be completed in time for the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012. It represents a significant investment on the Portland and will help highlight to local people and visitors the fantastic assets that are available on the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site, within the Chesil Beach, Fleet area and on the island itself.
Nerys Watts, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund South West, said:
“We at HLF are delighted to be able to support the development of Chesil Beach Centre and the opportunities it will provide for more people explore this rare and beautiful landscape. Chesil beach is of national importance in terms of our natural marine wildlife and the new centre will provide fantastic new facilities for visitors and an education space for schools groups, as well as the chance for local people to get involved as volunteers. We look forward to the opening of the centre, and showcasing our stunning natural heritage to the world.”
Alan Laidlaw, head of new business development for The Crown Estate’s rural estate, said:
“We are delighted to be investing in this partnership project to redevelop the internationally important Chesil Beach Visitors Centre, which will help to educate visitors from all over the world about this stunning World Heritage Site. The Crown Estate’s support for the centre reflects our commitment to promoting biodiversity and environmental interests across our all of our estates and our desire to make lasting improvements to the communities in which we operate. We are looking forward to the completion of this exciting project in time for the Olympic Games next year.”
James McGillivray of NVB Architects and NVB Landscape said they were delighted to be involved with the redevelopment of the Chesil Beach Visitor Centre..
”It is testament to the teamwork of the client team, design team and contractor that this much needed landmark project is now commencing construction. The natural palette of timber and stone and innovative use of sustainable technology will make this a building entirely in sympathy with its unique natural location.”
Finally Simon Cripps from the Dorset Wildlife Trust comment as follows:
"The expanded centre will provide a great opportunity to educate and inspire more people about this unique and fascinating environment. We aim to make a visit to the Chesil Beach Centre a 'must' for visitors, schools and local people.”
If you are interested in volunteering to help either in the development phase or at the newly expanded centre please do get in touch with Emily Brown - firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 07824438975.