by Matthew Stott
Saturday, January 26, 2013
PLANS unveiled for a £1million visitor centre showcasing Walton-on-the-Naze have been welcomed “whole-heartedly” by the public and businesses.
The centre would be built at the top of the cliffs near Naze Tower in a bid to boost facilities and get more visitors to the area.
Essex Wildlife Trust is currently trying to seal funding for the project and has lodged a bid with the Big Lottery Fund.
Claire Cadman, project manager for Essex Wildlife Trust, has spent the last two days appealing for support in Walton.
She said: “It has been a very successful couple of days. I have had a good response from a lot of people and companies. It has been very positive.
“I have been up and down the High Street and everyone is very welcoming to the scheme. A lot of people are whole-heartedly in support.”
The centre is the second stage in the Essex Wildlife Trust’s Naze Heritage Project, following the completion of the £1.2million Crag Walk sea defence in April 2011.
The Crag Walk allows people to stroll along the new rock structure at the base of the cliffs and to learn about the history, the fossils and the wildlife.
Designs for the visitor centre include an observation room with views across the coastal landscape.
There will also be an education room and an interpretation zone for people to learn about the geological, biological and cultural significance of the area.
In addition, sustainable design features – including a green roof, rainwater harvesting and a ground source heat pump.
John Hall, CEO of Essex Wildlife Trust, said: “We have worked with all the partners on the designs.
“There has also been additional guidance from other organisations, such as English Heritage.
“We are determined to get a design that keeps the Naze Tower as the focal point in the landscape and that any new building is not prominent in the landscape and that it complements the tower.
“We value the informal nature of the Naze; we want to interpret this well for the benefit of local people and visitors alike.”
David Gager, chairman of the Naze Protection Society said: “The Naze Heritage Project is looking forward to hearing people’s views and seeing how the proposals can be improved further.”
The Naze Heritage Project are working towards a planning application, which is expected to be submitted later this year.
Essex Wildlife Trust is the county’s leading conservation charity.
It has more than 32,000 members, manages and protects over 7,250 acres of land on 87 nature reserves.
It is one of the largest of the 47 county wildlife trusts across the country.