Plans revealed for new visitor centre at Spurn


Working in partnership with E.ON, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust is developing plans for a new visitor centre near to Spurn National Nature Reserve. The project will enable the Trust to better cater for the needs of visitors to the area and at the same time ensure the fragility of the wildlife and local environment is better conserved.

Artist's impression of what the Spurn visitor centre may look like (Image: Salt Architects)

The Trust is currently appraising a number of locations with the working favourite being on land owned by the Trust that lies between Kilnsea village and the entrance to Spurn National Nature Reserve. This location will provide views over the Humber Gateway Offshore Wind Farm currently under construction by E.ON and yet will be mostly hidden from the village of Kilnsea. The scrub and grassland habitats found here will be enhanced to provide better areas for wildlife than found here currently.

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The design approach began with detailed assessments to avoid impacts on wildlife, the landscape and environment, and then reduce and mitigate any that remain. By locating the building in this area, the Trust is avoiding impacts on the wildlife that uses the nearby Humber Estuary. Rob Stoneman, Chief Executive of Yorkshire Wildlife Trust said: "We are delighted that E.ON has chosen to work with us to make this investment at Spurn and feel this will bring a real benefit to the local area. The Trust is designing the building to use the first floor for the main activities allowing the ground floor to cope with flooding from time to time. Our key aim as a Wildlife Trust is to enhance habitats for wildlife benefit, so we are naturally excited about how we can do this for the benefit of both wildlife and people. We have already established a constructive dialogue with Natural England, the Environment Agency, RNLI, Associated British Ports, local councillors and the Spurn Bird Observatory Trust as part of this process."

Given the wide range of people who live in and visit the area, the new visitor centre will cater for many needs. The Trust has asked the architects to provide a classroom, visitor information, a café and shop, YWT offices, public toilets, good car parking and storage for habitat management equipment. Space for a new ringing laboratory has also been offered to the Spurn Bird Observatory.

Dr Stoneman added: "The Trust hopes that the visitor centre becomes the starting point for any visit to Spurn and Kilnsea, with maps of routes and features to see in the area so that whatever the weather or interest, visitors will be able to have a great stay in the area." The investment will bring clear benefits to local businesses who cater for the tourism trade. Having the facility to engage with all visitors to Spurn will ensure they enter the nature reserve understanding the fragility and importance of the site and how to minimise the impacts they have on this sensitive, dynamic landscape and its wildlife.

The Trust hopes that work will start in spring 2015 subject to planning permission being secured.

Written by: The Wildlife Trusts