Work begins on Northam Burrows Visitor Centre refurbishment

Work has started on the total refurbishment of Northam Burrows Visitor Centre and the creation of a cafe

Work has started on the total refurbishment of Northam Burrows Visitor Centre and the creation of a cafe - Credit: TDC

Work is underway at Northam Burrows to completely refurbish the old visitor Centre and create a café alongside the building. 

The 14-week project is being carried out by Pearce Construction, which has been awarded a Considerate Constructor’s Certificate for its operations and work. 

It follows the announcement in September that the original plans to build a brand new £1.8million centre had been shelved in favour of ‘a more modest’ scheme. The project is funded by the Coastal Communities Fund.

As work gets started, the most obvious progress to date has been the removal of the existing roof, alongside removing turf in front of the centre to level the area where the modular café building will be installed.  

An aerial view of the extent of the work underway at Northam Burrows Visitor Centre

An aerial view of the extent of the work underway at Northam Burrows Visitor Centre - Credit: TDC

The first job was to cut and roll the turf and move it to a temporary location where it will continue to grow until the building works are finished.  

The original turf will then be reinstated to continue growing around the centre and in line with an environmentally-friendly approach to the build as many materials as possible are being recycled.  

The salvaged materials include roof slates, LED strip lights, hand dryers, emergency lights, a hearing loop machine, a baby change table and a selection of sockets and network points.  

An aerial view of the extent of the work underway at Northam Burrows Visitor Centre

Work underway at Northam Burrows Visitor Centre - Credit: TDC

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Many of these will be reused for replacements and repairs on other Torridge District Council properties. 

As well as reinsulating the old centre to bring it up to modern standards the interior layout will be updated.  

Part of this is the addition of a fully accessible ‘Changing Places' room which will provide the enhanced space and equipment for disabled people who cannot use standard toilet facilities and another much-needed specialist facility for visitors to the Burrows.  

The changed layout will also allow for a separate teaching area alongside the main exhibition space, which will be available to the many school groups that visit for environmental education sessions with the park rangers. 

Councillor Cheryl Cottle-Hunkin, lead member for community, culture and leisure said: “The new facilities on Northam Burrows will continue to play a vital role in educating visitors and future generations about the wildlife, history and culture of the area as well as providing an economic boost with the addition of a new café and much needed upgrade to disabled facilities.  

“Very exciting and hopefully an opening we can all look forward to in the near future.” 

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