Rye Harbour Nature Reserve is holding public consultations on its plans for a new visitor centre this month. The development will be a new high quality centre to provide information, education and refreshment facilities on the nature reserve. Its purpose will be to draw in greater numbers of visitors who come to the Reserve for recreation and engagement with its amazingly diverse natural environment.
The new Discovery Centre, as it will be called, is to be constructed on precisely the same site as the existing Information Centre, directly on the principal approach that most people use to access the Nature Reserve, and with the very minimum impact on the delicate surrounding ecosystem. A pedestrian ramp will lead up into the building, which will contain information and interpretation space to explain more about the wildlife to be discovered around the Reserve. There will be flexible education and meeting spaces (up to 40 and 70 people respectively) and also a retail area and café facility with a viewing area giving uninterrupted views over the Reserve. The building will also provide office space for staff and volunteers as well as public toilets.
It will replace Lime Kiln Cottage which has served well for many years, but its limited size and facilities are no longer fit for purpose. It has also been subjected to flooding. As we reported in Rye News, in 2014, the building had to be temporarily abandoned due to inundation three years ago.
The views of local people are particularly welcomed for the successful realisation of the project. The first drop-in consultation session was held on July 4 at Rye Harbour Village Hall. Two others will take place on Tuesday July 11 at Winchelsea New Hall Rectory Lane, Winchelsea, TN36 4AA (2-5:30pm), and on Thursday July 13 at, Rye Town Hall, Market Street, Rye, TN31 7LA (also 2-5:30pm). Plans are on show and those attending will be asked their thoughts and ideas. If you cannot visit, then filling in the online form will help, say the joint sponsors: the Sussex Wildlife Trust and the Friends of Rye Harbour Nature Reserve. You can also see the visuals at the temporary information centre at the reserve or find out more by visiting the website
The consultation will be helpful in informing the planning application expected to be submitted before the end of this year. It will also lead into the launch of the fund-raising exercise. A substantial bequest to the Friends’ organisation gave a head start, as reported last year, but the support of many well-wishers as well as external grant-funding will be necessary to realise the entire project.
Photos: Barry Yates
Image Credits: Rye Harbour Nature Reserve .