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Broads Authority denies visitor centre is on hold despite uncertainty around funding

PUBLISHED: 16:05 05 July 2019 | UPDATED: 16:05 05 July 2019

South view of the new centre at Acle

South view of the new centre at Acle

Archant

Reports that plans for a landmark visitor centre in the heart of the Broads have been put on hold have been denied, despite bosses admitting its future depends entirely on new funding being found.

How the new bridge in Acle would look.How the new bridge in Acle would look.

Last year, the Broads Authority (BA) launched a competition for architectural firms to design a new £750,000 visitor centre to sit alongside the River Bure at Acle Bridge, which saw almost 100 entrants.

It selected a design from Norwich-based Feilden and Mawson, a decision made in July last year.

However, in March it emerged that the estimated costs of making the vision a reality had spiralled and it could cost double what was originally anticipated.

Now though, the Architects Journal has reported the scheme has been put on ice, with doubts over whether funding will be available to make it happen.

However the report has been refuted by the BA, which claims the future development is not on hold and that all options are being considered.

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However, the BA has also said any decision on the future of the site would be "entirely dependent upon the identification of suitable external funding".

Rob Rogers, director of operations at the BA, said: "The Broads Authority's priority has been to make a number of improvements to the moorings at Acle Bridge and these include re-opening the disused toilet facilities and making use of the existing building.

"We are also planning the installation of electric charging points and making improvements to the piling on some sections of the moorings later on this year.

"The longer-term vision for the site is yet to be decided as we are still in preliminary stages of developing any definite plans.

"The authority has not committed any significant sums of money to the Acle Bridge Visitor Centre project to date and any future developments will heavily rely on external funding sources and decisions relating to this will ultimately be made by members."

Including the purchase of the land, the short-term improvements to the site and the costs of design work, around £280,000 has been spent by the authority on the 1.1-hectare plot.

Of this sum, £180,000 was spend purchasing the land, £70,000 on the improvements and around £30,000 on the project itself - including costs to winning architects Feilden and Mawson, design work and consultancy fees.

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