WORK begins to alter the entrance to the Harbour Road car park in Seaton on August 1 in preparation for the start of the building of the £4m visitor centre, Seaton Jurassic.
The car park will remain open using the existing entrance until Sunday 31 August to allow for this year’s Seaton carnival and funfair. A compound to house the site offices of the contractors will be created on the Tramway side of the car park from 15 August.
Councillor Ian Thomas, East Devon District’s Council’s cabinet member for economy and chair of the Seaton Regeneration Board said: “This is the first visible sign of the dream of a visitor centre becoming reality. As with any project of this size and complexity there will inevitably be some disruption during the construction period but we intend to keep this to a minimum and have planned around major events such as the Carnival and The Grizzly.
"Seaton Jurassic is such a massive boost to the town and we are all incredibly excited to see the first tangible steps towards its opening next year.”
Councillor Gaynor Sedgwick, Mayor of Seaton, said: “The road change is the start of such an exciting time for the town as Seaton Jurassic takes shape. Moving the TIC into the new centre makes logical sense so we can provide a central welcome to visitors encouraging them to not only go into the centre but also take a trip on the tram, visit the museum and enjoy the Wetlands. We will continue to provide information on the increasing range of shops and cafes on offer in Seaton.”
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 approved 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 the visitor 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. During the building of the centre and after it is opened there will be 150 parking spaces provided with the potential for an additional overspill car park for 70 spaces opposite on The Underfleet, subject to planning consent.
An exhibition of the plans for Seaton Jurassic will be on display in Seaton Town Hall from mid August until the end of September when the display will be moved to the site offices.