Architects are being invited to design a carbon neutral visitor centre for the Brockholes wetland and woodland nature reserve in Preston – a 106 hectare former quarry site near the M6.

The competition is a partnership between the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA), the Forestry Commission, the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and Lancashire Wildlife Trust.

Peter White, NWDA head of infrastructure and development, said: “Regeneration projects such as Brockholes are key to improving the image and perception of England’s North West, encouraging investment and aiding future economic development.

“Within that wider project it’s essential that we support the type of design for the visitor facilities that promotes the attractiveness of the surroundings and inspires visitors to keep coming back.”

Brockholes is the latest site to be purchased through Newlands (New Economic Woodlands).

The £59 million NWDA-funded regeneration scheme launched in 2003 aims to turn more than 900 hectares of brownfield land into community woodland and green space.

Brockholes is intended to become a “landmark centre” for recreation and wildlife, which will also boost economic and social development in the area.

Keith Jones, regional director of the Forestry Commission, said: “This competition is a great example of Newlands’ commitment to quality site design as well as cutting edge brownfield remediation.

“If Brockholes, alongside the other Newlands project currently under development, are to deliver real economic and social benefit, they need to include sensitive, responsive and above all, innovative design.

“The Newlands partnership is pleased to announce the Brockholes design competition in partnership with RIBA, and looks forward to working with the successful applicant in the future.”

Entries will be judged anonymously at the first stage with those behind five preferred schemes invited to present to a panel of judges.

The deadline is Wednesday, September 19.

David Gibbs

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