£2.5 million boost for Skegness area nature reserves

Gibraltar Point Visitor Centre immediately after the flooding. EMN-140523-194256001
Gibraltar Point Visitor Centre immediately after the flooding. EMN-140523-194256001

Up to £2.5 million is set to be invested in the area’s nature reserves.

The visitor centre at Gibraltar Point Nature Reserve is set to be pulled down and completely rebuilt following devastating damage caused 
by the storm surge in December.

The observatory at Chapel St Leonards is also to be developed.

The complex of buildings at Gibraltar Point left damaged housed the visitor centre and café and the educational facilities - these buildings are owned by Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust and Lincolnshire County Council.

A spokesman for LWT said: “The trust is working closely with the county council and the plan is that the buildings will be demolished. This vision for the future is to restore the old coastguard house, in the centre of the buildings, and build a new visitor centre around it that is resilient to flooding.

“The final decisions are still to be made.”

If funding bids are successful it is hoped the new centre could be welcoming visitors by 2016.

Coun Colin Davie, executive member for the economy and environment at LCC, said: “I am fully behind plans to build a new visitor centre at Gibraltar Point. We have committed to investing our own money to get it built, and we’ve also applied to the Government for £1.8 million of funding. This would also allow us to fully develop the coastal observatory at Chapel St Leonards, and support the LWT at Donna Nook too.”

“If we’re successful in our bid, we believe we could be welcoming the first visitors to the new sites by 2016,” he added.

A spokesman for the council said the cost for the Gibraltar Point and Chapel projects stood at £2.5 million, with funding hopefully coming from the county council, central Government, the Arts Council, and 

For now, educational facilities are based at Sykes Farm, the current operational base for field staff on the reserve.

Schools are already visiting and making use of the new temporary facilities there.

Gibraltar Point is still open to visitors with opportunities for walks and birdwatching, while the café staff are operating from a catering van in the car park.