Plans have been unveiled for a state-of-the-art £800,000 visitor centre and tearoom development at a popular Doncaster nature reserve.
Yorkshire Wildlife Trust has announced plans for the centre at Potteric Carr in Doncaster.
The proposed centre will include a tearoom and toilets, plus improve the parking and education offer.
The Trust is currently fundraising to cover the costs of the development, which are estimated at around £800,000, with some sources of funding already confirmed.
It is hoped that the centre would be completed and ready to open to the public in spring 2017.
Currently the attraction receives 33,000 visitors per year and it is hoped that the new visitor centre and tearoom will see numbers coming to the site rise to 40,000.
Andy Dalton, Manager at Potteric Carr Nature Reserve said: “These proposed facilities will create a superb visitor experience and will propel Potteric Carr to be the best place to visit to see native wildlife in its natural habitat in South Yorkshire and further afield, creating a real positive impact on Doncaster’s tourism industry – an example of how looking after our wildlife and wild places can really boost local economy.
“We are very excited about the new plans, as it will provide this important visitor site with the facilities it rightly deserves, allowing us to better engage with those who come to learn about the wildlife of the place.
“Currently we are in the very early stages of planning, with initial designs having been put forward by the architects, Bauman Lyons Architects.
“As part of these initial steps we have also undertaken a comprehensive assessment of Potteric Carr, to identify the best location for the centre.
“Obviously our main consideration for this was impact on wildlife. This process led us to identify the area in front of Decoy Lake as the best place – a spot which is easily accessible and outside of the Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) designation.”
Yorkshire Wildlife Trust hope that the proposed visitor centre will improve the experience of all those that come to the site, with improved signage explaining the importance of Potteric Carr and more about the superb range of wildlife on site.
The treasured South Yorkshire beauty spot was awarded ‘Sustainable Wetland of the Year’ award from the Chartered Institute of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM) last year.
The reserve has been under the stewardship of YWT for more than four decades and its landscape and wildlife habitat has gradually expanded over the years, from just 12 hectares (ha) in 1968 to 210 ha today. Visit www.ywt.org.uk/potteric-carr.