Visitor centre rethink

PUBLISHED: 01:01 27 March 2008 | UPDATED: 08:57 10 June 2010

A new site for Exmouth's visitor centre project has been proposed with the price of a planned Imperial Recreation Ground facility possibly out of reach. Financial setbacks mean a base above a potential new sports centre at the estuary-side lorry park co

A new site for Exmouth's visitor centre project has been proposed - with the price of a planned Imperial Recreation Ground facility possibly out of reach.Financial setbacks mean a base above a potential new sports centre at the estuary-side lorry park could be an attractive prospect. The chance to be housed within a proposed building supported by private development - in a deal with ASM/ASDA - could help the visitor centre project.A second-floor centre would invite "innovative" proposals and could halve project costs to around £3.5 million, according to the centre's Project Promotion Group.PPG secretary John Wokersien said proposals for a dual sports and visitor centre did not mark a lessening of project ambition. He said: "This gives an opportunity for innovative design - it would have tremendous views across The Exe and a great location."We could achieve a lot of what we want to do with the centre and, if it took sufficient money, there would be the potential to grow with development on the Imperial Rec'. It really stacks up financially, but nothing is decided at the moment."Mr Wokersien said the visitor centre's future would not be tied to the success of ASDA's application. He described fund-raising for the visitor centre as a "struggle", with a failed lottery grant bid dealing a blow to original project plans.A £2.5 million pot has been created by South West Regional Development Agency for Jurassic Coast visitor centres at Exmouth and Seaton. The funds must be used by 2011, but a contamination survey of the Imperial Recreation Ground landfill could provide a crucial delay - threatening the funds.

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