Jurassic centre back on cards

A hiGH-tech Jurassic Coast Interpretation Centre and restaurant on the seafront could be back on the cards – and this time it could be at the end of Queens Drive.

The Journal understands that last week Paul Nightingale, owner of the Royal Beacon Hotel, briefed councillors, community organisations and business people on his vision for a two-storey building at Orcombe Point.

The proposals come a year after moves to build a smaller centre next to the Carlton Slipway fell through because of` funding problems.

In the presentation, Mr Nightingale outlined his vision for the building, with a glass balcony, similar in style to the nearby lifeboat station.

The proposals echo a development brief published by the district council in 2004, which also proposed a two-storey caf� on the hard-standing of the old district council-owned caf�, demolished in the 1990s.

The new plans would be integrated with proposals by Bright 3D, which has suggested improving the zig-zag path leading to the cliff-top and a Jurassic Coast-themed display built into the hard-standing.

On the first level, above the display, there would be an interpretation centre, public toilets, a watersports shop and, possibly, a traditional seaside caf� and ice cream parlour.

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The second floor would be a 120-seat, split-level restaurant with glass balcony, specialising in locally-caught fish and only accessible by lift or by the zig-zag path.

It could also have a grass-covered roof so the building seamlessly blends into the hillside.

A design proposal seen by the Journal adds that the project would be ‘predominately’ funded by the private sector, could create 60 jobs and that the running costs of the toilets and interpretation centre would be met by unit leases within the development.

The document penned by Mr Nightingale reads: “The development would be as far as practicable and possible, similar to the lifeboat station, built of wood and local stone.

“What Orcombe needs is an impressive symbol of Exmouth’s character, sophistication and promise – to entice walkers to continue their journey into the town where they will spend time and money.

“This proposed development could prove to be an important prestigious attraction for the whole of Devon to be pleased and proud of.”