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National Marine Centre

– in the Scottish Parliament on 9th November 2016.

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Photo of Iain Gray Iain Gray Labour

1. To ask the Scottish Government what support it will offer the new national marine centre being developed at North Berwick. (S5O-00312)

Photo of Roseanna Cunningham Roseanna Cunningham Scottish National Party

The Scottish Government wrote in support of the national marine centre in North Berwick as part of the project’s successful application to the Heritage Lottery Fund. Marine Scotland officials sit on the project’s marine advisory group to provide advice and support as it develops the subsequent application to the Heritage Lottery Fund as well as other funding opportunities.

Photo of Iain Gray Iain Gray Labour

The national marine centre is a development of the Scottish Seabird Centre, which has a substantial track record of success. It has around 270,000 visitors per year and brings people from all over Scotland and indeed the world to North Berwick. The marine centre project has the potential to expand that educational and tourism success into all aspects of the marine and coastal environment. As the cabinet secretary indicated, a major fundraising programme is under way, but further Government support will be crucial to secure match funding from the lottery funds to allow the project to proceed. Will the cabinet secretary commit to seeking such an investment?

Photo of Roseanna Cunningham Roseanna Cunningham Scottish National Party

I mentioned some of the support that has been provided so far. I understand that a £3.5 million bid is being made to the Heritage Lottery Fund. I agree with the member that the proposal is an extraordinary potential development that offers a great deal. There is a funding gap of, I think, £2 million, and funding applications will potentially be required. One of those could be to the coastal communities fund, for which round 4 awards will be announced in March 2017. Although the Scottish Government commits funding to the coastal communities fund, ministers are not actively involved in the decision making for it, as the member no doubt understands. However, the coastal communities fund funding officer is meeting the project team on 18 November to discuss details of the application.