Cumbria 'green' convention centre gets go-ahead

Plans for a new, renewably powered convention centre on the shores of Lake Windermere have been given the green light by the Lake District National Park Authority in Cumbria.

The Authority’s planning committee approved the Low Wood Bay development, which will accommodate up to 600 delegates and feature a conference and banqueting hall with a five-metre high ceiling, to cater for the launch of large products such as boats.

Green features

The centre has been designed to have minimal environmental impacts on the surrounding area and to incorporate locally sourced materials in its construction.

The developers hope to power the site with 100 per cent renewable electricity, from a new hydro-electricity scheme planned for the nearby Holbeck Ghyll stream. If planning permission is granted for the scheme, any surplus energy will be supplied to the National Grid.

It will also be one of the first commercial buildings in the UK to use a ground-source heat pump that draws up latent heat from beneath the lake.

A large jetty will be built so that delegates can arrive by boat rather than by road, to minimise emissions from car journeys and avoid further congestions on local roads.

The centre will also feature a living 'green wall' of plants that absorb the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere, and a flat 'green roof' covered in plants, to encourage biodiversity and help the building to blend into its surroundings.

'Wow factor'

Director of English Lakes, Tim Berry said: "We’re delighted that the National Park has made the bold decision to approve this exciting new building on the shores of Windermere.'

"This is a development that is fit for the future. It will look great for many years to come; it will blend into the surroundings, create jobs and will be a showcase venue that allows us to show-off this wonderful area to future visiting delegates.

"This really will provide the 'wow factor' that will help spread the word that the Lake District is a fantastic place to come and do business."

He added: "Sustainability was a key element in the design. We believe that the building will enhance this part of the lake shore and make use of the benefits the Lake District’s natural features bestow in the form of renewable energy."

The new centre will create around five full-time jobs and 30 part-time jobs.

Posted under General Interest on 15 May 2012