Eco-friendly centre looking to wow 100,000 a year

Newstead eco park artist's impression

Newstead eco park artist's impression

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AMBITIOUS bosses behind the new eco-friendly country park between Annesley and Newstead say they hope it will attract 100,000 visitors a year by the time it reaches its fifth birthday.

The Dispatch reported last month that work had started on an ‘earthship’ visitor centre at the Newstead and Annesley Country Park.

An integral feature is walls created from 1,500 donated vehicle tyres and the building is due to be completed by the end of the month.

The scheme is being funded from £400,000 secured when Newstead successfully applied to be part of the Village SOS initiative funded by the Big Lottery Fund and the BBC. The whole process is being filmed for a TV series.

Newstead Enterprise are overseeing the project and officials there say that the high visitor numbers will provide a boost not just to the centre itself but also to nearby villages and the local economy in general.

Julia Thistleton-Smith joined Newstead Enterprise after being linked with the project through village SOS. Her husband, Anthony Thistleton-Smith, is the award-winning architect behind the design of the visitor centre.

She said: “We also want to create business for Newstead and the surrounding area.

“We have got targets for visitation and we are hoping to have 100,000 in the fifth year.”

The project is also likely to provide several jobs for the area. A project manager and park ranger have already been employed.

Volunteers from the community are also working at the park, both now and once it is up and running.

Julia added: “Volunteers will be helping out quite a bit and the volunteers will get training. We will be working with hard-to-reach young people and helping them get back into work.”