Council’s official statement – straw bale visitor centre gets underway

AS we reported last week work has begun on the new eco-friendly visitor centre at Hastings Country Park. Yesterday Hastings Borough Council issued a press release about the project which we publish here in its entirety.  

Work is now underway to build a new visitor centre for Hastings Country Park nature reserve. The centre will be built in a sustainable way using straw bales. It will be home to information about the park, its geology, habitats, species and heritage. There will be a café for light refreshments and new accessible toilets.

The new centre is located on Lower Coastguard Lane at the Fire hills end of the park. It will make the most of the park’s stunning views over the English Channel.

Construction will continue through the summer. There will be opportunities to watch exciting stages in the build, such as the straw bale walls being constructed and the lime render being applied. The construction team is headed by SIA Design and Build. They are working with three specialist straw bale companies.

The project is funded by Hastings Borough Council with a grant award of £475,000 from Interreg North West Europe. The Interreg award is part of an innovative project called ‘Up Straw’ which is increasing awareness of the benefits of public building with straw across North West Europe.

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One of the information signs that have been put up around the site.

Once the new centre opens it will provide an exciting facility for visitors to the park to find out about this special landscape, for schools visits, activities and family events.

Colin Fitzgerald, lead councillor for the environment, Hastings Borough Council said: “Hastings Borough Council is delighted to be part of the innovative Up-Straw project which aims to showcase sustainable and energy efficient building projects with reduced carbon footprints.

“The project will deliver new visitor facility for this very special site, which is one of the country’s foremost coastal nature reserves, with a high quality space for schools, local communities and visitors.”

Up Straw is funded by the Interreg North West Europe Programme which is a transnational European Territorial Cooperation Programme funded by the European Commission.  The programme mixes public bodies and voluntary sector organisations and provides support to projects with a funding rate of 60 per cent. Alongside the construction projects, Up Straw partners are also working to increase straw bale skills and awareness within the construction industry.

The Up Straw project will see a public building constructed with straw in each of the five project countries; UK, France, Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands.

2 thoughts on “Council’s official statement – straw bale visitor centre gets underway

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  1. How can work commence when there has not been any decision on the waste and foul water disposal for this straw wonder? The planning application has not been decided yet. Is this another case of preferential treatment for the councils own applications?

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  2. When you look at the cost of this that will no doubt be closing in just short of a million quid, you have to question the management abilities of this council. Given the cost it surely has to be classified as a “Folly” and considered to be this council/councillor(s) ego trip.
    And to compound this issue I have, this council had the temerity to shut the town public toilets and then rapidly get it demolished. Didn’t waste time there in fear the public would protest maybe?

    I am sure there are many who would agree a visitors centre at this cost is risible at a time of financial austerity. And one thing some of this money could have been used for is restoring the Rocklands area of the Country Park following that very controversial landslip

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