Award win for innovative visitor centre
The Bale House, the recently built visitor centre at Hastings Country Park Nature Reserve, has been recognised in an international award scheme for its sustainability and eco-credentials.
The building was given a Mention in the Low Carbon Prize category of the Green Solutions Awards.
The Bale House was designed and built with sustainability at its core, with insulation made from straw bales and recycled and reused materials used throughout the process. It was funded by Hastings Borough Council with grant aid from Interreg North West Europe through the Up Straw project, which is increasing awareness of and construction of public buildings with straw across north west Europe.
Each year the Green Solutions Awards select innovative buildings that provide an answer to challenges faced by the building sector and promotes climate solutions for buildings, districts, and infrastructures.
The Bale House opened in July this year. It is managed by Groundwork South, a charity that specialises in social and environmental regeneration. The visitor centre hosts a café run by The Grumpy Cook, serving locally sourced refreshments with stunning views over the English Channel, and a shop stocking merchandise and souvenirs is due to open soon.
Cllr Maya Evans, lead member for environment, said: "We are delighted to have won this award for this fantastic, unique building. It is the first of its kind in the south east of England, and I hope its success encourages more sustainable buildings as we continue to make wholesale changes to tackle climate change.
"If you haven't been to see The Bale House yet, I would encourage you to go and look at the displays to find out more about its environmental credentials (and enjoy a treat from the café). You can also see the straw bales in position in the honesty window, showing how they insulate the building."
Ben Coles, Director of Development & Strategic Programmes Groundwork London and Groundwork South, said: "It's fantastic to see The Bale House recognised for its sustainability credentials with this Award. We are delighted to be welcoming visitors to the centre as a place where people can learn more about Hastings Country Park Nature Reserve - its fascinating heritage and enormously valuable biodiversity - as well as the finding out about The Bale House constructions and environmental benefits."