Durlston Project Update: July 2008
Dorset County Council and a wide range of project partners are celebrating the news that the Heritage Lottery Fund has confirmed £3.1m of funding towards the £5.5m Durlston Project. Being successful with a Heritage Lottery bid of this scale and complexity is a major achievement, and the culmination of four years careful planning and hard work.
After a huge effort by Friends of Durlston, the Jurassic Coast Trust and the Project Team, the £2.4m ‘match – funding’ target is also looking attainable. This funding has come from a wide range of individual donations and fundraising initiatives as well as major business partnerships and significant contributions from charitable trusts and foundations. Despite the many successes, it is essential that we continue our fundraising efforts to ensure all the aspects of the Durlston Project are achieved.
A key element of the Project is the restoration of Durlston Castle; repairing the fabric of the building and replacing inappropriate 20th century additions. Access to and within the building will be greatly enhanced and exciting new displays will highlight the ever-changing face of Durlston. The present Park Centre will become a new Learning Centre for more formal education and family activities. This work will ensure that Durlston provides a world class facility for visitors to the Jurassic Coast and the newly designated Durlston National Nature Reserve.
New, high quality catering and retail facilities will also be developed, with greater opportunities for functions, special events and temporary exhibitions. Durlston’s importance as a major tourism asset will grow, with economic and social benefits for the local area and wider region.
There is still a large amount of preparatory work to finalise, including detailed technical design, contract tendering a wide range of project management requirements, so it is unlikely that work ‘on the ground’ will start before 2009 with completion expected by the end of 2010.
The good news from the Heritage Lottery fund comes on top of the recent opening of the Durlston National Nature Reserve – an accolade which highlights Dorset County Council’s continuing commitment to conserving the site’s rich natural heritage. The Civic Trust has also awarded Green Flag status to Durlston for the 3rd year in succession.
Now that we have been given the ‘green light’ there are even more opportunities to get involved in the Durlston Project. If you would like to help please speak to a Ranger at the Visitor Centre, visit www.durlston.co.uk or telephone 01929 424443.
Hamish Murray (Head Ranger)[posted by Mike Hadley]