EAST Devon District Council’s Cabinet next week (7 May) is expected to show its confidence in Seaton Jurassic, the new visitor centre for East Devon, by underwriting a possible small shortfall of £165,000 in the capital cost.

The shortfall is expected to be secured by July following a number of applications to charitable trusts.

However it is important to demonstrate to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) when they make their decision in June about the second stage application for £621,000 that all the remaining funding is in place.

Councillor Ian Thomas, cabinet member for economy, said: “With the successful Coastal Communities Fund award, announced in February, Seaton Jurassic passed a crucial milestone. The project now has a head of steam behind it with only a matter of weeks before work starts on site.

"This is fantastic news for Seaton and the surrounding area, especially all who are working so hard to make the dream a reality.

"By underwriting this relatively small shortfall we help ensure the best possible chance of securing a further major grant from HLF and give another huge boost to the project.”

Detailed and costed plans are already in place for the design, interpretation, marketing and running of Seaton Jurassic. We expect to announce the contractor in the coming weeks with construction expected to start on the site at The Underfleet in July. Devon Wildlife Trust will be the centre operator.

Direct link The total project will cost just over £4 million including an appropriate contingency. Phase 1 makes up the bulk of the project and includes the construction of the centre and its fit-out costing a total of around £3.7million. Phase 2 adds an extension of the outdoor space with a direct link to the Axe Estuary Wetlands at a cost of about £320,000.

The project has now secured over £3 million of funding including £1.9million from East Devon District Council and further contributions from Devon County Council and Seaton Town Council. A first stage application to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) was also successful with the outcome of a second stage application to HLF expected in June. Planning consent for the building was approved in June 2013.

Seaton Jurassic will tell the uniquely powerful story of the geology and wildlife of the Jurassic Coast, England’s first Natural World Heritage Site. The Centre to be located right in the centre of Seaton and just a two minute walk from the seafront will contribute to the regeneration of the town by attracting thousands more visitors. Seaton Jurassic will be highly engaging and interactive and aims to immerse the visitor with its interpretation of the area’s natural and marine heritage.