Cautious support for Chapel project

CAUTIOUS public support has been lent to Lincolnshire County Council’s ambitious proposals to establish Chapel Point at the gateway to its Coastal Country Park.

The six-figure proposal, which is hoped to extend the region’s tourist season and improve the local economy, were unveiled to more than a hundred interested residents at the Village Hall on Monday evening.

County Councillor Colin Davie was enthused by the response the project received and optimistic that any concerns will be allayed when more detailed plans and costings emerge.

He said: “This is a significant investment in Chapel St Leonards to provide a fist class facility for residents and visitors alike. The conclusion of the meeting was that the proposals were generally supported, subject to certain conditions.”

The new facility will feature an art gallery, bird observatory, cafe, parking and toilets, which together will form the gateway for the county council’s Coastal Country Park and is hoped to attract all-year-round visits from wildlife enthusiasts and coastal tourists

If completed, the buildings will be transferred to Chapel St Leonards Parish Council for it to operate as a revenue generator.

Council chairman Coun Patrick Naughton has expressed his personal enthusiasm for the project but explained it would be the people of Chapel that decide on whether it proceeds.

He said: “I think it is good news as it will extend the season and will bring more people into the village to boost the economy which is suffering at the moment. It all seems very exciting, but it’s not for me to decide, it’s for the people of Chapel to say what they want.”

Around two thirds of people at the meeting voted in support of the project, with some proclaiming it as a ‘marvellous idea’ and that it was ‘about time’ Chapel received this sort of investment.

Others, however, expressed concerns which centred chiefly on the running costs some feared would burden the parish council. However Coun Naughton hoped any costs would be recouped by the facility’s income, and that due to the building’s modern design and inclusion of solar panels, running costs would be minimal.

Further concerns were expressed regarding transport and access, which are hoped to be alleviated when the final designs are made available.

The facility will also include a new Coastwatch observation station, which the local station manager has welcomed as an improvement to safety.

Roger Gilburd said: “It’s a brilliant offer because as a charity, we don’t get any funding so we are very grateful when an offer like this is made.”

Coastwatch would like new volunteers to apply at its Skegness station.