Horrendous Lancashire storms delay Cuerden Valley Park eco-project

Volunteers Pete Welsh and Martin Harrison battling the elements at the visitor centre.

Volunteers Pete Welsh and Martin Harrison battling the elements at the visitor centre.

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The progress of a ground breaking new eco-friendly building has been delayed by the series of storms which have battered the county.

Back in October, volunteers at Cuerden Valley Park, Clayton-le-Woods, near Chorley, were preparing to put the roof on a new visitor centre that is being constructed using only environmentally-friendly materials such as shingle roof tiles and straw-bale walls.

But the £400,000 project’s progress was hit by the horrendous winter weather conditions.

Now, as the storms begin to clear, park manager Jim Longbottom says work on the project will hopefully be completed in June rather than by Easter as first planned.

He said: “We are making progress moving forward but things have been a bit slow.

“The bad weather over Christmas has really slowed us down, probably by a month.

“We decided to wait to put the roof on so that it did not get damaged and we are hoping to put it on in the next few weeks.”

Volunteers started building back in July and once the roof is secured straw bales will then be placed beneath to form the walls.

And Jim urged more people to pull their wellies on and help them out over the next few weeks.

He said: “We are always looking for more people to get involved. We have a lot of volunteers when it is sunny, but not the same amount when the weather is bad

“We are hoping to have the whole project finished by June.We are looking to be the first building in the country to pass the living building challenge.

“But there is a lot of work to be done I hope people will put their waterproofs on and come and help us.”

The project has been financed by donations as well as grants from Chorley Council, Lancashire Environmental Fund, Neales Waste Management via the Greenbank Trust, Garfield Weston and Violia Environmental Fund.

Coun Peter Wilson, deputy leader of Chorley Council, says the £650,000 council grant is an important investment.

He said: “We’re pleased to support Cuerden Valley Park with a grant towards the cost of the new centre.

“It is a beautiful park with lots of events and activities going on which attract many thousands of people a year and we believe it is important to invest in and improve facilities for visitors across the borough.”