Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Visitor centre on stilts planned for Lepe Country Park

New Lepe visitor centre Image copyright Lepe Country Park
Image caption The new visitor centre includes a glass fronted cafe with views over the Solent

Plans for a new visitor centre on stilts in a country park hit by flooding and coastal erosion have been given the go-ahead.

The New Forest National Park Authority has approved improvement work at Lepe, including a new centre and cafe built on concrete piles to avoid flooding.

The park, on the shores of the Solent, was inundated during winter storms in 2014.

Work is due to be completed by spring 2018.

The park, managed by Hampshire County Council, was flooded during the Valentine's Day storms which battered the coast on 14 February 2014.

Other work being carried out as part of the £2.6m project includes a redesign of the car park, landscape work, improved signage and a sensory garden.

Andrew Gibson, the council's executive member for culture, recreation and countryside said it would help make the park "more financially self sustaining".

"Lepe Country Park is already popular with visitors, but this investment will improve visitor facilities further still, making more of its natural and historical features," he added.

The 52 hectare park attracts up to 400,000 visitors each year .

Image copyright lepe Country Park
Image caption The existing visitors centre was badly damaged when it was flooded in 2014.

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