�25,000 Sidmouth attraction open!

A ONCE derelict seafront shelter has been transformed into a �25,000 attraction with the ‘wow factor’.

Sidmouth’s own Jurassic Coast Interpretation Centre on The Esplanade was officially opened on Monday.

And town councillors who have led the project told the Herald: “We’re thrilled to bits.”

The free-to-enter facility showcases a flavour of the town and Jurassic Coast’s heritage and special features.

It is hoped the venue will encourage people to visit the town’s museum and tourist information centre.

Thousands of pounds have been spent on items like 3D designs, interactive screens, photos and maps.

Councillor Simon Pollentine was on the original working party that set about transforming the run-down spot around four years ago.

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He said: “This has been our dream since the Jurassic Coast was designated. We’re extraordinarily proud of it.”

Opening the hub, town council chairman Stuart Hughes praised colleagues for ‘grasping the nettle’ in taking on shelters in a ‘very poor state of repair’.

He said: “We have now transformed them into facilities of which we can all be proud.

“This is certain to be an attraction that is enjoyed by visitors and locals alike.

“It has been a marvellous team effort.”

The Sid Vale Association’s (SVA) Keith Owen Fund donated �15,000 to the centre.

Handel Bennett, fund committee chairman, said: “We’re always interested in supporting these sorts of projects that benefit the community. This is a great asset to the town.”

SVA chairman Alan Darrant hopes the venue will help museum visitor numbers. “It’s a marvellous use of funds,” he added.

Sam Rose, Jurassic Coast team leader, said: “It’s a brilliant example of a locally driven project.”

The Fine Family Foundation donated �6,000 to the project, while the East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty organisation and Devon County Council contributed �1,500 and �2,880 respectively.

Volunteers interested in helping man the centre can contact Sidmouth Town Council on (01395) 512425.