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Funding call to save Severn crossing centre

A VISITOR centre that educates school children about civil engineering is closing down because the industry has shunned requests to support it.

The Second Severn Crossing Bridge visitor centre, which attracts more than 2,000 schoolchildren and students a year, will close unless funding can be found to support its annual £12,000 running costs.

The educational centre includes an exhibition of boat, rail and road crossings of the estuary, but focuses on the construction of the M4 Second Severn Crossing which opened in 1996.

Some 15,000 people have been through the doors of the centre since it opened in 1998, gaining an insight into civil engineering.

The centre escaped closure once already this year when a public petition persuaded the local council to extend the expired planning permission by 15 years (NCE 14 February).

Now it is a lack of funds that could spell the end: 'It is a crying shame that we can't get the funding to keep the centre open, ' said Severn Bridges Trust chairman and FaberMaunsell director Peter Head.

'We get 5,000 visitors a year, and their reaction to it is incredible, ' said Head. 'Yet we are getting no support from industry.

'This is typical of this industry, saying that we need to attract the young people and yet doing nothing about it.'

INFOPLUS To pledge funds, e-mail keiththomas@cefnonn. fsnet. co.uk.

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