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North Sea Observatory

After years of planning the construction of a new iconic building has started on site. The building (on the seafront at Chapel Point, Chapel St Leonards) will have a fantastic uninterrupted views of the dunes, beach and North Sea. PROGRESS UPDATE: Works have started on site however, the remains of the original sea defences (buried deep on the site in 1953) and the discovery of second World War smoke bombs delayed the construction of the foundations. We aim to be completed on site Spring 2018.

Coastal Observatory

The new building will contain - a café with toilets; a range of 'hands-on' educational and interpretative information for visitors; panoramic views of the coast; indoor and outdoor observation decks; a lookout for the Coastwatch organisation; and an art space for exhibiting work from local/national artists and craftspeople, art and craft workshops and a programme of artists in residence.

The new building is funded by Lincolnshire County Council, the governments Coastal Communities Fund and Arts Council England.

The origins of the building started back in 2005 when Lincolnshire County Council initiated the Bathing Beauties® arts led coastal regeneration project. Due to its success and encouraged by the Arts Council a second phase was developed with the title of Structures on the Edge (SOTE. The SOTE project included the proposal to build an iconic new multi-purpose building right on the seafront.

The building would be the centrepiece of the SOTE project and would also act as a coastal observatory for the Lincolnshire Coastal Country Park (LCCP). The aim of the LCCP is to provide high quality facilities for visitors and better protection for wildlife, by creating enhanced, extensive and interconnected nature reserves and wildlife areas. This will be at the heart of a venue to attract visitors and residents in every season and provide the area with accessible, natural green space for people to enjoy.

Few people know about, or have witnessed the passage of the thousands of birds from all around the world (Greenland, Iceland, Arctic, Siberia, North and South America etc) that migrate along the Lincolnshire coastline in spring, autumn and early winter. The Observatory is something unique to Lincolnshire as there are no purpose designed marine observatories anywhere else in the United Kingdom.

The primary function of the Observatory is to:-

  • facilitate observations, understanding and appreciation of the North Sea and the marine environment
  • create an iconic focal point and visitor hub to engage visitors and local residents in socio-economic activities
  • make available an 'off season' attraction extending the short summer tourist season into the spring, autumn and early winter
  • provide access and educational opportunities for all

Councillor Colin Davie, Executive Member for Economic Development at Lincolnshire County Council, said:

"This will be something unique to Lincolnshire as there are no purpose-designed marine observatories anywhere else in the UK. The observatory will be the perfect spot for people to enjoy the spectacular Lincolnshire coastline and its beautiful wildlife. There will lots of info on local nature and plenty for the kids to do. We'll also have a small café and art space. Hopefully, this will attract even more visitors to the area, boosting the local economy."

Chapel St. Leonards Parish Council Chairman, Councillor Patrick Naughton, added:

"The parish council is really excited about this development. We feel that the building will enhance the area, extend the summer season and bring more visitors into our village. We are conscious though that Chapel Point is a naturally beautiful area and that any development must be in keeping with that. Having seen the design, we think that the architects have got it right."

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Last updated: 4 January 2018

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