Essex: Villagers finalise plans for �230,000 Rowhedge Heritage Centre

A LONG-RUNNING bid to build a �230,000 maritime heritage centre near Colchester is today a step closer.

Rowhedge Heritage Trust (RHT) has submitted plans to Colchester Borough Council for the complex – two decades since the idea was first conceived.

The centre will aim to capture the village’s rich maritime history so future generations can better understand where they come from.

If it is approved the centre will sit on the banks of the River Colne and include museum and exhibition space, a gallery, meeting room and cafe.

It is also intended to provide a base for the Wivenhoe to Rowhedge ferry.

Keith Phillips, chairman of RHT, said: “We have been working on this for many years and we are pleased to submit a plan for a modest scheme which is going to be feasible to fill and easier to run.

“We got planning permission for a bigger building some years ago but we were not able to get the Heritage Lottery funding for that so it’s taken a while to re-scope the project.”

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Mr Phillips said if the latest plans are given the green light by the borough’s planning committee the trust would begin a drive to raise around �230,000 in two years.

He added: “Rowhedge has a long maritime and social history and because the village changed so much when shipbuilding closed down it’s a different place from 50 years ago.

“So we wanted to keep the memories alive of the sailors, shipbuilding, fishing industry and clothing industry in Rowhedge.

“So the children and young people who live there now are able to understand what their forebears did.”

The trust is currently operating from a temporary hut on land near Lion Quay.

The plot was handed to the village in 1998 as part of Redrow Homes’ housing development on the old upper shipyard site.

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