Work on building a new £1.8million visitors centre at Northam Burrows is set to start early next year.

An artist's impression of how the new Burrows Centre at Northam will look.An artist's impression of how the new Burrows Centre at Northam will look.

The new two-storey Northam Burrows Visitor Centre will replace the existing centre, and will include a cafe, a lift, flexible space for community use, and even a small aquarium.

There will also be business support for local firms and new tourism start-ups in the new centre.

Torridge District Council (TDC) hope the new centre will be the focal point of Northam Burrows Country park, which covers 258 hectares and lies withing an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty , Unesco Biosphere Reserve and is a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

The council's community and resources committee received an update on the project at its meeting on Monday, October 14.

How the new Northam Burrows centre is proposed to look.How the new Northam Burrows centre is proposed to look.

It heard that WSP has been appointed for the centre's structural, mechanical and engineering elements.

Changes have also been made to the floor space to accommodate the small aquarium area, and enhancements have been made for the exhibition areas.

TDC's lead member for community, culture and leisure, Councillor Cheryl Cottle-Hunkin, said: "This is a really exciting project which will create a centre of excellence for environmental education within one of our most important environments.

"I especially like the ambition of making more of our environment and developing tourism in the area in a sustainable way.

"The additional facilities and café will also be a real asset to the area and a great improvement on what is currently available."

The current centre is due to be demolished early next year, with plans to open the new building in 2021.

The project has already recieved £1.2million of Coastal Communities Funding toward its delivery.

It is thought the centre will support more than 180 businesses and create 90 new jobs, including 12 within the centre itself.