Revised Northam Burrows visitor centre scheme gets the go-ahead

The Northam Burrows Visitor Centre.

The Northam Burrows Visitor Centre. - Credit: TDC

Revised plans for an improved visitor centre at Northam Burrows have been given the go-ahead.

Torridge District Council’s (TDC) application to refurbish the existing centre at the country park and build a new single-storey cafe and toilet block with outdoor seating were unanimously approved by the council’s plans committee on Thursday (December 3).

The scheme replaces original plans to build a new two-storey replacement centre, and was deemed ‘more modest’ by TDC when it submitted the fresh plans in September this year.

The current centre, built in 1985, has been nearing the end of its useful life. It will now be refurbished with fresh cladding, insulation and roofing.

The refurbished centre will see an ‘enhanced exhibition space’ which can be expanded into an education and meeting room used by schools and groups. A new changing places toilet is also proposed.

A modular cafe and toilet block will sit opposite and will be manufactured off-site before being delivered to the burrows in time for the 2021 season.

On moving the application for the new cafe and toilet block, plans committee chairman Chris Leather said: “This marries in very well with the refurbishment of the visitor centre and I think it will be a very worthwhile development when it is done.”

Work on the two-storey Burrows Centre was about to get up and running when the coronavirus pandemic struck.

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TDC said the subsequent lockdown meant the initial plans could not be achieved in the timescale needed for its funding.

Speaking back in September, TDC’s property and procurement manager Adrian Redwood said: “We have been working hard with all of the agencies involved to identify a solution that can be delivered within the remaining time available.

“The only viable option available to us comprised a modular solution for the café space that can be manufactured off-site over the winter months and delivered to site for the 2021 season.

“This change has unfortunately necessitated a new planning application for the revised scheme, but has been fully supported by the Coastal Communities Fund who have approved the change to enable the project to be delivered within the original funding time scales required.

“This endorsement not only ensures that the original outputs are maintained, but also enables us to continue to make use of the grant funding available without incurring additional cost.”

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