Re­vealed, de­signs for land­mark eco cen­tre

Manchester Evening News - - NEWS - By CHARLOTTE GREEN Lo­cal Democ­racy Ser­vice

THE first de­signs for a ‘unique’ multi-mil­lion-pound en­vi­ron­men­tal cen­tre have been un­veiled.

Bosses are pre­par­ing to seek plan­ning con­sent for pro­pos­als for the Alexandra Park Eco Cen­tre in Old­ham, which would re­place the coun­cil’s age­ing de­pot on the cor­ner of the park by Kings Road.

The new build­ing would fur­ther the town hall’s am­bi­tions to make Old­ham the green­est bor­ough in Greater Manch­ester.

Artist’s im­pres­sions have now given a first look at the de­sign for the cen­tre, which is planned to use biomass heat­ing and so­lar pan­els to be­come car­bon neu­tral.

A plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion for the eco cen­tre will be sub­mit­ted next week, and if ap­proved build­ing work could be­gin later this year.

It forms part of a wider strate­gic plan for 160 acres of green space around Snipe Clough, the flag­ship ‘North­ern Roots’ project.

The pi­o­neer­ing plan is to trans­form the site, which is a mix­ture of waste ground and wood­land, into the UK’s largest ur­ban farm and eco­park.

Greater Manch­ester mayor Andy Burn­ham said it was a ‘vital part’ of plans to tackle cli­mate change in Greater Manch­ester.

He said the eco cen­tre would form part of the five-year plan to make the re­gion car­bon neu­tral by 2038, and had wide-rang­ing benefits.

Mr Burn­ham said: “A vital part of this will be look­ing at how we can re­gen­er­ate ur­ban green spa­ces and put them at the heart of our com­mu­ni­ties – be­com­ing vi­able, sus­tain­able re­sources that bring peo­ple to­gether and en­hance our qual­ity of life.

“North­ern Roots has the po­ten­tial to trans­form the way we think about ur­ban green space, not only in Greater Manch­ester but on a na­tional scale.”

Last year it was re­vealed that glamp­ing, a pet­ting zoo, mi­cro­brew­ery, sports and for­est zones were all be­ing mooted for the site.

The coun­cil has so far com­mit­ted to in­vest around

£700,000 in North­ern

Roots across two years.

But chiefs es­ti­mate the to­tal project will cost around £25mil­lion, and will need out­side in­vest­ment.

The new eco cen­tre would of­fer fur­ther train­ing and em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties with Old­ham Col­lege and other ed­u­ca­tion providers.

It will be a base for en­ter­prises and com­mu­nity projects, pro­vid­ing of­fice space, op­er­a­tional build­ings, green­houses and stor­age fa­cil­i­ties.

Old­ham coun­cil leader Sean Field­ing said they needed to have the right in­fra­struc­ture to build an ‘in­clu­sive econ­omy’ in the bor­ough.

He said: “Th­ese pro­pos­als for the new cen­tre are unique and am­bi­tious in terms of their scale, use of tech­nol­ogy and en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact. We’d be build­ing a new pur­pose-built fa­cil­ity that would meet the needs of our ser­vices and con­tinue to pro­vide em­ploy­ment and en­hanced train­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties.

“We’re also look­ing for the cen­tre to have low run­ning costs, which is an­other big bonus.”

Util­is­ing green tech­nol­ogy it is aimed that the cen­tre would be self­suf­fi­cient, with biomass gen­er­at­ing heat, so­lar pan­els pro­vid­ing power and a fil­tra­tion sys­tem to col­lect nat­u­ral wa­ter to use at the site.

It would also see elec­tric charg­ing points in­tro­duced to power the coun­cil’s fleet as it moves to switch to elec­tric ve­hi­cles.

Two drop-in ses­sions are be­ing held in the con­ser­va­tory at Alexandra Park to­mor­row so res­i­dents can get more in­for­ma­tion about the plans.

Artist’s im­pres­sions of the Alexandra Park Eco Cen­tre

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.