Natural England, Cumbria County team up for Earnse Bay Outdoor Centre
Plans have been submitted for the community hub and educational facility, which is part of the £25m #BrilliantBarrow Town Deal award.
The Earnse Bay Outdoor Centre would sit on more than eight acres of grassland and scrub on Walney Island. The site is owned by Cumbria County Council and is bounded by West Shore to the west and Cows Tarn Lane to the south.
Under designs by Kendal-based Collingridge and Smith Architects, the 15,600 sq ft facility would be in two parts.
One half would be used by Cumbria County Council as community centre with a café, village hall, and classrooms.
The other half would be delivered by Natural England and would have workshops, classrooms, and offices. This section would be a volunteer and operational hub for the Natural England team based at North Walney National Natural Reserve.
Westwood Landscape has designed an urban park for the site as well.
There are 37 parking spaces included in the plans, submitted by lead consultant Align Property Partners. These include 10 spaces at the front of the building and then 27 at the West Shore Car Park that is opposite the site. There would also be six spaces for cycles and two for motorcycles.
Cumbria County Council’s cabinet member for economic development and property, Cllr David Southward, described the Earnse Bay Outdoor Centre as “a very exciting project for the area”.
“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,” Southward said.
Of the £25m Town Deal award, £3.1m is designated for the Earnse Bay Outdoor Centre. Natural England has said it will also fund the project should the scheme secure planning permission. A decision on the application from Barrow in Furness Council is expected by the end of February 2023.
Rigby Jerram is the ecology consultant for the project. WSP is the transport and noise expert.
The application’s reference number with Barrow in Furness Council is B12/2022/0815.