CONSERVATIONISTS have unveiled plans to restore a mothballed lighthouse on Yorkshire’s North Sea coast and turn it into a heritage centre.

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust wants to bring back into use the Victorian lighthouse at Spurn Point, which was decommissioned nearly 30 years ago.

The trust says the restored landmark could help to raise awareness of local wildlife and conservation work.

It is bidding for £650,000 of lottery funding and has submitted a planning application to East Riding of Yorkshire Council, which is considering the proposals.

In a statement, the trust said: “The building is an excellent example of late Victorian maritime engineering and would serve as the focal point for the trust’s activities on the point and for managing visitors to the site.”

The trust was granted £68,000 of lottery money last year to fund initial plans and work. It now hopes to secure a further £650,000 for the restoration and staff and event costs.

If funding and planning permission are granted the lighthouse could be open by 2016, said trust spokeswoman Joanna Richards.

She said: “This project will encompass several things, but the key aim is to provide heritage events to the public, so that they might better understand the historical and cultural stories behind the point.”

Under the plans, a nearby First World War gun store would be turned into public toilets and steps to a gun emplacement would also be restored.

Spurn Point has the second-longest history of lighthouses in the country, the trust said, having had 21 since 1427. The present Trinity House lighthouse was built in 1895 and decommissioned in 1985.

It said the Grade II listed building was stucturally sound but needed restoration to make it weatherproof and sustainable in the long term.

The trust has formed a steering group to ensure the plans support the surrounding nature reserve and landscape. The centre would be primarily for education but also act as an exhibition space and visitor centre.

It would provide information on local wildlife and tell the story of the lighthouse’s history.

The trust hopes to restore the lighthouse to as close to its original design as possible. It said: “Understanding and respecting the lighthouse’s history is central to the trust’s proposals for the building and its use as a heritage centre.”

A decision on the funding bid is due in September.