Wildflower centre prepares to submit extension plans

The National Wildflower Centre's Inspire project will be worked into a detailed planning application by the end of March 2010 after funding was awarded by the North West Development Agency.

The NWDA agreed to give £200,000 to cover the cost of design work. An architectural competition to design the educational, conference and seed production complex at the existing centre in Court Hey Park, Knowsley was won by Ian Simpson Architects in 2009.

The Friends of Court Hey Park will host a public consultation meeting on the scheme proposals at 4pm on Friday 20 November 2009 at the National Wildflower Centre. Members of the public are invited to attend the meeting to find out more about the proposal scheme before the formal application is lodged.

Richard Tracey, head of environmental quality, NWDA said: "The aspiration to produce a new educational and visitor facility that will engage young people in exploring mathematics and science through wildflowers is an admirable and exciting one which has a potentially strong resonance with the Agency's environmental quality and skills agenda. It is also good to see that the region's best architects can compete and win in such a large international field."

Grant Luscombe, chief executive of Landlife, the charity which runs the centre, said: "The design will inspire youngsters to explore complex scientific concepts at the National Wildflower Centre, our hub for innovative environmental activity situated in Knowsley, The Wildflower Borough."

Ian Simpson said: "We look forward to the challenge of producing a beautiful, zero carbon building, which marries both the aims and ambitions of the National Wildflower Centre and the local community."

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