An artists's impression of the proposed orientation centre for Lady Anne's Drive

Planning & Development

Lady Anne's Drive Orientation Centre

The Holkham National Nature Reserve was established in the 19th Century when the land was reclaimed from the sea for agriculture. At that time the marshes were intensively cultivated and a railway ran through the middle of the site until it washed away by the floods of 1953.

Since 2012 the reserve has been managed by the estate and the beach and the nature reserve are often referred to as the jewels in Holkham’s crown. There can be few people who have not been moved by the sheer scale of the beach and the variety of the wildlife. But the lack of lavatories is a major source of dissatisfaction for the 500,000 people who come to the beach each year.

The absence of lavatories and basic visitor management facilities was described in a report commissioned by Natural England in 2010 but the report also showed that visitors to the nature reserve value the place because it is remote and unspoiled and therefore any facility in this location would need to be modest and appropriate.

In 2012 the estate appointed architects Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios (FCBS) to work on plans for an orientation centre that would provide lavatories as well as a shelter for schools and a modest refreshment facility. FCBS are one of the leading practices in the UK and are noted for their commitment to sustainable architecture. In 2008 FCBS won the Stirling Prize which is widely regarded as the highest accolade in architecture.

Planning permission was granted in December 2015 for the new facility and the estate is now working with a team of local architects and engineers on the final details. Whilst these are being finalised, Robson Construction Ltd will be starting on site on Monday 8th May to install the various services down Lady Anne’s Drive that will be needed for the operation of the new Orientation Centre. Construction work will commence on Monday 11th September 2017.