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Chesil Beach centre revamp work facing shortfall
COUNCILLORS will be asked to agree £15,000 of additional funding to complete work at the Chesil Beach Centre.
The building and external works to revamp the Portland visitor centre were completed in time for the Olympic and Paralympic Games last summer and the final internal fit-out is expected to be completed by the end of March.
However, the withdrawal of key funders left Dorset County Council with a £30,000 shortfall in footing the bill for the £1.1million project.
A report going before the council’s cabinet next Wednesday claims that half the money has now been found from other partners but the authority will be asked to make a contribution of the remaining £15,000.
The report states that half the funding for the project was provided by the Heritage Lottery Fund, with other organisations such as the Fine Family Foundation and the Crown Estate also making contributions. However funding was hit with the demise of the South West Regional Development Agency, which had committed £250,000 to the scheme, and a further £50,000 promised by the Portland Gas Trust that the report states has ‘not been forthcoming’ due to economic conditions.
The report by director for environment Miles Butler states: “Whilst the project team has worked hard to recoup this, the £1.1m project is still £30,000 short of its total cost prior to completion in March.
“Half of this has been found from other partners, and there is now a request as to whether Dorset County Council is able to make a contribution of the remaining £15,000.”
The county council has so far contributed £55,000 to the scheme, with Weymouth and Portland Borough Council providing funding of £99,000.
On completion the building will be run as a partnership between the Dorset Wildlife Trust and Weymouth and Portland Borough Council.
Mr Butler concludes: “This is an excellent project that has taken more than seven years.
“The building has been constructed on a very tight and value-for-money budget.
“Staff from the borough and county councils, Dorset Wildlife Trust and volunteers have put in a great deal of time and effort to make it happen.
“The final contribution is now less than 1.5 per cent of the total project cost, but would reinforce Dorset County Council’s role not only in this individual centre, but also in the provision of facilities for the whole World Heritage Site.”