Park centre takes shape

A NEW environmentally friendly visitor centre is today taking shape in Ipswich's Christchurch Park.

A NEW environmentally friendly visitor centre is today taking shape in Ipswich's Christchurch Park.

The hi-tech centre is being constructed on the site of the old toilets near the park's Bolton Lane entrance.

It is on track to open in mid-October when it will be used to educate people about the area's wildlife and the park's history.

Sam Pollard, park manager, said classes of schoolchildren would be among those to use the centre.

He said: “We know we are going to have school groups coming up here. They will be doing earth education before having a wander around.

“We've also had tentative talks with Otley College about holding some Royal Horticultural Society classes here. Where better than in the town centre park to have talks about RHS subjects?

Most Read

“At the moment Ipswich Borough Council doesn't have a parks visitor centre where people can learn about what's going on in the park, the wildlife that's out there and the trees and plants that are in the parks.”

The education centre will also house some of the best finds from the park's round pond, which has been undergoing a revamp. Among the items found are a Second World War dog tag belonging to a US serviceman, a French coin dating from 1656 and an Ipswich farthing dated 1670.

Construction on the new heritage lottery funded building began in January when the park's old public toilets were demolished.

As well as boasting an education centre, the building will also have new public toilets, a reception area where park visitors can meet staff and get information about the park's history and upcoming events as well as being the base for the park staff.

The eco-friendly design will see all heating and hot water provided by a woodburning stove fed by woodchips, much of the lighting provided by sun pipes in the ceiling and ventilation in the toilets provided by solar-powered extractor fans.

A so-called green roof will be covered with plants.

n What do you think about the changes to Christchurch Park? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail