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Hampshire County Council architects win go-ahead for £2.7m visitor centre

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Hampshire County Council’s in-house architect team has won planning approval for a £2.7million beachside café and visitor centre at the popular Lepe Country Park

The 340m² waterfront building, which will sit on stilts, will replace an existing structure close to the mouth of the Beaulieu River which overlooks the Solent towards the Isle of Wight.

According to the authority, the project has been driven by increased visitor numbers to the park - around 300,000 visits every year - and rising sea levels. The  proposed scheme lifts the new building 2.5m above the coastal flood plain on a ’robust arrangement of concrete piles and columns’.

A spokesman said: ’In recent years these have had a significant impact on maintaining and operating a service on the site. A storm in February 2014 rendered the existing visitor centre unusable resulting in revenue losses and a substantial repair bill.

 ’[Elevating the building] allows future tidal surges, the principal driver for the project, to reclaim the beach without impediment or costly secondary intervention. The elevated position also benefits visitors in providing uninterrupted views over the existing car park to the beach and the Solent.’

 Work is due to start in Spring next year (2017) with completion expected in November.

Lepe sketches 2

Lepe sketches 2

Project data

Location Lepe Country Park, Exbury. Hampshire, SO45 1AD
Type of project visitor centre
Client Hampshire County Council Countryside Services
Architect HCC Property Services
Landscape architect HCC Property Services
Planning consultant N/A
Structural engineer HCC Property Services
M&E consultant HCC Property Services
Quantity surveyor HCC Property Services
Planning supervisor N/A
Lighting consultant N/A
Main contractor Interserve
Funding Hampshire County Council
Tender date end-November 2016
Start on site date January 2017
Completion date November 2017
Contract duration 33 weeks
Gross internal floor area 340m²
Form of contract and/or procurement traditional/framework
Total cost £2.7million

Lepe sketches 5

Lepe sketches 5

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