Thursday, October 17, 2013
Official opening of new £1.2million seafront Pavilion is a big hit.
LYNMOUTH has a new jewel in its crown today (Thursday) following the opening of its £1.2million Pavilion on the seafront.
Excited visitors were delighted with the new state-of-the-art National Park Centre, top floor café, exhibition, community and education space that is expected to become a huge asset for the area.
The old 1932 Lynmouth Pavilion building is gone but not forgotten, with its replacement built in a similar art deco style and even using parts of the old framework.
The project has been led Exmoor National Park Authority, which met almost half the cost, with another £600,000 provided by Devon County Council from its Invest in Devon fund (money from the sale of Exeter airport).
A further £250,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund has created two new staff posts plus a raft of community heritage projects that will be based at the Pavilion.
It boasts an interesting mix of high tech and traditional exhibits with interactive touch screens alongside seaside photo boards – there is even a small cinema playing films of Exmoor.
The top floor café, The Pavilion Dining Room, has been taken on by Samantha and Paul Rhodes, who will be offering cream, afternoon and high teas as well as a lunch menu. The couple also run Le Bistro in the village.
A busy official opening saw the ribbon cut by Andrea Davis, chairman of the National Park Authority and the local county councillor instrumental for securing the grant funding.
“I couldn’t be more delighted,” she said.
“It has been a long journey – it was an eyesore and a derelict building on the most premier spot in the area, but has now been transformed into a shining beacon for North Devon.
“We wanted something new and innovative, something that was open all year around. It is the support from a range of people that makes things like this possible – considering we are in a deep financial crisis, to open this in 2013 is bucking the trend.”
The work to demolish the old Pavilion and resurrect it in a new and vastly improved modern version was completed in less than 12 months by local contractor Morgan Sindall.
Exmoor National Park staff had to move out of the old building in 2005, then spent years in portable buildings, first at Blackmoor Gate then Lyndale car park.
Nigel Stone, chief executive of the park authority, said the centre would be the ‘next step up’ for the national park: “We’ve always been good at providing information but we now have an all year around centre, much better facilities and thanks to the Heritage Lottery, more staff to help get people involved.”
The Mayor of Lynton and Lynmouth, Cllr Suzette Hibbert, said the building was ‘absolutely mind-blowing’:
“To see the Pavilion with the backdrop of the Cliff Railway is a view most communities would die for,” she said.
“It’s worth a huge amount to us and I think everybody here is just astounded by the quality of the building, and the contents are also wonderful – there’s so much for families to do in here, it is a complete attraction in itself.”