Drafty start for park’s new £400,000 eco-friendly visitor centre

Next step: Progress at the new visitor centre and cafe at Cuerden Valley Park
Next step: Progress at the new visitor centre and cafe at Cuerden Valley Park
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It will be a drafty start for an eco-friendly building made of sheep’s wool, straw bales and car tyres as volunteers are set to raise the roof... before the walls are built!

The foundations and wooden substructure at Cuerden Valley Park’s new £400,000 cafe and visitor centre have been completed but instead of walls the next step is adding the roof.

Cuerden Valley Park

Cuerden Valley Park

Volunteers started building back in July and once the roof is secured straw bales will then be placed beneath to form the walls. Park manager Jim Longbottom explained why they are using the unusual process.

He said: ”We are adding the roof first because we need to protect the straw bale walls.

“We need to stop them getting wet and damaged and so we are putting the roof structure on, then the bales and then adding the shingles to the roof. There has been a lot of hard work done over the summer by many volunteers all of whom we would like to thank. We can actually see the progress being made which is very satisfying.”

The building is hoping to be the first in the country to receive Living Building Challenge Certification when it is completed in Easter 2016.

The project has been financed by donations from local businesses and members of the public 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.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing the visitor centre open. It will be a great facility, not only as a focal point for visitors but also for Cuerden Valley Park Trust so they can put on even more events and activities which will generate income for further improvements.”