Refurbished and redesigned centre reopens following £206,000 extension.

Project manager Nina Lake, cafe proprietor Charlotte Lock, Rodney Cann, chairman of the Fremington Quay Environment Trust and Chris Jones of Smith and Jones Consultants plus cafe proprietor Paul Duffy officially open the new Heritage Centre.Project manager Nina Lake, cafe proprietor Charlotte Lock, Rodney Cann, chairman of the Fremington Quay Environment Trust and Chris Jones of Smith and Jones Consultants plus cafe proprietor Paul Duffy officially open the new Heritage Centre.

THE history of Fremington Quay is set to be brought vividly to life following the £206,000 overhaul of its Heritage Centre.

The extended and renovated centre now has colourful interactive displays celebrating the quay’s past, when it was a thriving port and railway freight hub, with goods shipped up and down the Bristol Channel.

Housed in the replica station building that also contains the popular Fremington Quay Café, the Heritage Centre now offers a fascinating insight into the Victorian quay’s past, with touch screen, video and sound displays enabling the visitor to step back in time.

It will also be available as a community space and for visits by local groups or schools.

Rodney Cann, chairman of the Fremington Quay Environment Trust in the newly refurbished look out at the new Heritage Centre.Rodney Cann, chairman of the Fremington Quay Environment Trust in the newly refurbished look out at the new Heritage Centre.

Alongside work on the new extension, the Fremington Quay Environment Trust has been working with the North Devon Biosphere to create new displays for the centre as part of the Heritage Lottery funded ‘Life’s Journey’.

It was made possible by a Landfill Tax grant of £155,000 from Devon Waste and £45,000 from Leader4, plus a number other contributions.

The quay discovered a new lease of life in 2001 when it reopened following a £750,000 refurbishment, driven by local councillor Rodney Cann, now chairman of the trust, who at the time made sure foundations were laid to accommodate a new extension in the future.

“We’ve been staggered by the success of the project. We originally envisaged that we would have between 20 and 30 visitors a day, however the interest has been phenomenal, with footfall of about 100,000 a year,” he said.

Project manager Nina Lake, Rodney Cann, chairman of the Fremington Quay Environment Trust and Chris Jones of Smith and Jones Consultants inside the new Heritage Centre.Project manager Nina Lake, Rodney Cann, chairman of the Fremington Quay Environment Trust and Chris Jones of Smith and Jones Consultants inside the new Heritage Centre.

“This is the culmination of 15 years and I am very grateful for all the work people have put in on the new centre, including project manager Nina Lake from North Devon Council.

“The project is the result of an excellent partnership between public and private bodies that allow customers to be immersed in local history whilst they eat or drink, with another micro-business, the cycle shop, next to it promoting a healthy lifestyle and attracting people to the location.”

Mr Cann said future plans included play equipment outside in the shape of a wooden galleon, plus a planning application had been submitted to extend the parking area.