PLANS for a new eco-centre to support business growth and showcase the best sustainable building techniques have been given the go-ahead.
An application was submitted to Durham County Council to demolish a conservation centre office in Startforth, Teesdale and construct a new eco training centre, office, meeting and exhibition space with attached greenhouse and staff facilities.
The applicants run Teesdale Conservation Volunteers, a not-for-profit community project, working with volunteers, students and groups – which was established in 1997.
The company’s primary focus is green waste collection and composting, which started as a small collections round and now serves more than 5,000 households in Teesdale.
In the design and access statement it states: “The proposed new eco-centre is to be located on the site of the existing office and store and as such, makes use of a brownfield site. The existing building is in a poor state of repair, is extremely expensive to heat and is allowing water ingress. The new building would provide much improved office/reception facilities for customers of the growing composting business, would be more energy efficient and would showcase sustainable building techniques and integration of renewable technologies.
“Furthermore, the construction process of the building would be used as an educational tool to promote a self-build approach, using local materials and promoting living in a more environmentally aware way.
“The intention is to involve local schools and colleges in the construction of the building as the business has done previously and to analyse data compiled from the use of the building to provide training for interested parties.”
Startforth Parish Council has given its backing to the project.
A spokesperson from the parish council said: “Startforth Parish Council has considered this application and fully supports it. Councillors believe that the proposed building will be visually attractive, environmentally friendly and represents only an improvement to the area. Councillors welcome the educational aspects of the development, building on the highly respected reputation of the applicant though recognising that this might not be considered a material planning consideration.”