Cumbria County Council has submitted a planning application for a multi-million-pound outdoor community and environmental education centre.
The move marks a milestone in the ongoing development of the centre which forms part of the #BrilliantBarrow Community Hubs project and is proposed for a site owned by Cumbria County Council in Earnse Bay, on Walney Island.
Submission of the application follows significant development work with hundreds of hours of formal and informal consultation with the community.
The plans illustrate the vision for the project which consists of a new outdoor activity centre and an outdoor educational facility together with the creation of an outdoor community space.
It will aim to provide people of all ages with opportunities and access to the outdoors and to education.
The scheme will be funded by £3.1 million from the #BrilliantBarrow Town Deal, which secured £25 million from the Government’s Towns Fund earlier this year. Subject to final approval, the Earnse Bay project will also receive funding from Natural England.
The site of the proposed centre extends to 3.37 hectares and is bound by West Shore to the west, West Shore Park to the north and east and Cows Tarn Lane to the south. Currently, the site consists of grassland and scrub, with a dilapidated changing room building and some bituminous hardstanding that is no longer in use.
There will be a café and a community shop in the Cumbria County Council Community Centre, access to the village hall and two additional classrooms, as well as outdoor spaces for community growing and reflection.
It is proposed that Natural England’s Centre will include office and workshop space for the North Walney National Nature Reserve’s staff and volunteers, as well as classroom and meeting room facilities.
There will also be parking spaces, including four accessible spaces, two motorbike and six cycle spaces.
A decision on whether planning permission is granted is due at the end of February 2023.
Please email EarnseBay@cumbria.gov.uk with any questions or queries relating to this project.
Cllr David Southward, Cumbria County Council’s Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Property, said:
“I am delighted that Cumbria County Council has been able to submit this planning application.
“The outdoor activity centre and the educational facility will be an asset to the area and will be advantageous for the local community, being a real hub to get together and connect with neighbours and other residents.
This is a very exciting project for the area and also for the #BrilliantBarrow project too. We are delighted to be part of it.
“I would like to thank our officers and partners for all their work, so far, on this project.”