£250,000 awarded to Carlton Marshes by New Anglia LEP

Tuesday 8th May 2018

The potential of the Suffolk Wildlife Trust’s new landscape-scale reserve to become a flagship for nature tourism and boost the local economy by more than £1million a year has been recognised by the Board of New Anglia LEP

The organisation, a partnership between local authorities and businesses, has awarded the Trust £250,000 from its Growing Places Fund towards the creation of the 1,000acre nature reserve at Carlton Marshes, which includes a new state of the art visitor centre.

The support, which follows a grant of £4.06 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund that was announced in April, is one of the final pieces of the funding jigsaw which will allow the Trust to carry out the project.

Work is due to begin within the following months with the new centre set for completion by 2020.

The reserve is forecast to bring in 120,000 visitors per year on completion, with annual offsite expenditure reaching £1,371,500 and supporting up to 43.5 FTE jobs in the area.

As such the project is also aligned with the Economic Strategy for Norfolk and Suffolk, its ambitions for job creation and for achieving economic growth in the Visitor Economy, one of the Strategy’s key sectors.

Doug Field, chair of New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “The world-class natural and cultural offer of Norfolk and Suffolk contributes to a £5.1bn visitor economy in the East. This ambitious project has the potential to make that offer even greater and push that number even higher.

"The creation of a new reserve and visitor centre at Carlton Marshes will benefit wildlife, people living in and visiting our two counties and our economy. The LEP Board is proud to play its part in creating that benefit."

Julian Roughton, Chief Executive of Suffolk Wildlife Trust, said the award from New Anglia LEP was evidence that the new reserve had benefits beyond wildlife.

“The restoration of this special corner of East Anglia will bring rich rewards not just for Suffolk’s wildlife but also for the local economy. The 1,000 acres of reedbed, fen and wetland scrapes will support some of East Anglia’s iconic species such as fen raft spider, marsh harrier, bittern and crane.

“The wildlife and special landscape of the Broads attracts people from across the UK and our new visitor centre for Carlton Marshes, with its views and walkways across the marshes, will enable more people, from near and far, to explore this area and discover the wonders of the natural world.

"New Anglia LEP’s support is crucial in enabling us to create this flagship nature reserve and secures Norfolk and Suffolk’s status as a leading destination for nature tourism."

Waveney MP Peter Aldous, said: “This is excellent news and will bring significant benefits to the Lowestoft area in a wide variety of ways. Being on Lowestoft’s doorstep this is a unique project that will create a further gateway to the Broads National Park and a special thanks is due to all those who have worked so hard to turn a dream in to a reality.”

Last month the Heritage Lottery Fund awarded Suffolk Wildlife Trust £4.06 million towards the creation of the reserve and centre. 

The whole project around Carlton Marshes will cost around £8million with a further £4million coming from the Trust, through legacy gifts, volunteer time and the ongoing public fundraising campaign – which is now just £85,000 away from the £1million target.