Plans revealed for a new visitor centre near The Mere, Ellesmere
Plans have been revealed for a new visitor centre, café and play area close to The Mere in Ellesmere.
Located at the former Swan Hill depot site, the new centre would include a café and indoor soft-play area, and have space for exhibitions. There would be an outdoor adventure play area for children, and it’s hoped that the former depot buildings will be taken on by an outward bounds company offering opportunities for water sports and other outdoor activities.
A preferred design for the café has now been selected:-
The proposals are now subject to funding being secured and planning permission granted. If all goes well it’s hoped the new facility will be open by Easter 2020.
Lezley Picton, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for culture, leisure, waste and communications, said:
“The moving of our countryside depot at Swan Hill presented an opportunity to invest in the site to offer a new all-year-round visitor facility.
“The aim of the project is twofold. Firstly we want to develop and promote The Mere at Ellesmere Country Park as the outdoor recreation centre of Shropshire’s Lake District. We can do this by creating more outdoor recreational opportunities for visitors, so that it delivers an all year-round family visitor/tourist destination, increasing usage out of the main spring and summer seasons.
“The provision of a new visitor café/centre will also act as a hub to promote other attractions within north Shropshire and beyond – acting as a stepping stone into the Meres & Mosses landscape of north Shropshire.”
Shaun Burkey, Shropshire Council’s country parks and sites officer, said:-
“Our objective is to build a new visitor centre with a large well-used children’s outdoor adventure play area that provides for a family audience with young children. This offers the opportunity to develop the potential of the site so that it becomes an all year-round visitor destination for sport and recreation that will increase visitor numbers out of the main tourism season.
“We would modernise the existing outdoor play area and remove all but one of the neglected buildings at the depot, to provide space for the new facilities to increase visitors’ enjoyment and their experience of The Mere.”
Ann Hartley, local Shropshire Councillor for the Ellesmere Urban division, said:
“It’s great that a derelict area could soon be regenerated. It would be tastefully developed, as we are very mindful that this is a very sensitive area, and it’s essential that any buildings are in keeping with area. This development would also complement the busy play area, enhancing the facilities that are currently provided.”
European funding is being sought from The Rural Development Programme for England. Ellesmere Town Council has also contributed to the project which would bring three new jobs to the town.