£450,000 Ellesmere visitor centre moves a step closer
A new £450,000 visitor centre has moved a step closer as part of plans to promote the Mere as ‘the’ outdoor recreation centre of "Shropshire’s Lake District".
Shropshire Council has opened up bidding on the contract to build the visitor centre - and wants the new premises in place for the Easter period of 2020.
The plan is part of the authority's desire to make the Mere in Ellesmere "one of the key visitor destinations in Northern Shropshire".
One of the aims is to increase the number of people using the Mere out of season.
A tender document issued by the council said: "Shropshire Council have an aspiration to make the Mere at Ellesmere one of the key visitor destinations in Northern Shropshire.
"Our aim is to develop and promote The Mere at Ellesmere Country Park as ‘The’ Outdoor Recreation Centre of Shropshire’s Lake District, by creating more outdoor recreational opportunities for visitors; delivering an all year-round family visitor/tourist destination at the Mere; increasing usage out of the main spring and summer seasons."
The contract is to create a new cafe and information centre, alongside other improvements to the facility.
Last year the council said it wanted to develop the Swan Hill Depot at the Mere into a watersports centre and cafe as part of plans to boost the use of the county's "outdoor jewels".
The latest tender, which has a deadline of February 7, states: "The objective of this project is to design a café/space.
"The café will be a wooden structure and should be inspired with children in mind as the main end user and a place where adults can enjoy and engage in children’s play and development.
"We would welcome theme-based designs that have children’s adventure and the spirit of Mere at heart.
"The location of the new café will be set alongside an existing adventure play area and visitor toilets which will both be improved as part of this overall project."
The council says the project has a maximum budget of £450,000 and it is "seeking tenders that will deliver an innovative and amazing design, as well as value for money.
Clare Fildes, Shropshire Council’s interim head of culture and heritage, said: “The café and information centre development relies on an external funding bid to EU funding being successful.
"The bid will be submitted once tenders are received, as costings are needed for the application. If this is successful, it is envisaged that the facility will be up and running by summer 2020.
“The ambition for the centre is to provide better all year round facilities for families at The Mere and to help secure income to invest in the park in the future.”The project is scheduled to run from November 2019 to March 2020 and needs to be ready to open for the busy Easter period."