Over half a million pounds worth of funding has been secured by RSPB Bempton to develop their new seabird centre.
After East Riding of Yorkshire Council granted the Bempton reserve planning permission to construct the £640,000 development in May, the project - expected to take four-years to complete, can begin.
The money has come from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and will be used to improve facilities for visitors to the site which is home to 200,000 nesting birds.
Keith Clarkson, site manager, said: “This development will enable us to ensure our visitor experience is suitable for the volume of visits we receive and will effectively tell the story of the area’s unique seabird heritage. Over a quarter of a million seabirds make their home on the cliffs here each year, and the reserve welcomes around 76,000 visitors annually.
“Over the years the site has become worn – just through normal wear and tear - with the visitor centre, footpaths, toilets and the car park now in need of an upgrade. With the grant, we’ll be able to provide much better facilities and information for the thousands of school children, community groups and families who visit each year.”
The HLF grant, along with over £300,000 of funding from the RSPB, will enable the reserve to create a sheltered education space, improve the footpaths, redesign the car park, undertake seabird monitoring and research and diversify the activity programme available.
Mr Clarkson said the majority of work will be carried out over the winter months to minimise disruption to visitors.
Fiona Spiers, head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Yorkshire and the Humber, said: “Bempton Cliffs is an internationally important site for nesting sea birds and one of the best places in Europe to see them.
“The RSPB has been in operation here since the 1960s conserving our natural heritage; however this grant will make the site much more accessible and create better facilities for the thousands that visit each year. The attraction is a key benefit for the local economy and we are delighted to support the project.”
For more information on the centre visit www.rspb.org.uk