© Kent Wildlife Trust
The site currently consists of two elements:
The welcome areas
(car park, existing visitor centre, elemental garden and wild space)
Subject to planning consent the new Nature and Wellbeing Centre and its associated infrastructure may be placed anywhere within the marked area in red on the map; however entrants should note the potential to achieve views of the reserve from the centre.
In addition there are plans to create a series of islands within the West Lake of the reserve to provide nesting sites for riparian birds and also to increase the visibility of wildlife on the reserve. This could provide opportunities for vistas from the new centre if it remains on the existing footprint.
The building and landscape design should promote learning, wellbeing, curiosity and nature. Wildlife and landscape will be important – the centre should have elements that can accommodate wildlife as well as people, and be a natural companion and complement to the reserve it serves. Wherever possible it should build the connection with nature and be designed with health outcomes in mind for staff working within the centre and for visitors and centre−users.
Relationship to landscape – aesthetics and connectivity to immediate and wider landscape:
Internally, the building should provide the following functional elements:
The site also requires separate facilities for reserve management staff, their volunteers and equipment. This could consist of a dedicated, purpose−built building designed and fabricated in the same aesthetic as the visitor centre or as an addition to the visitor centre to provide the following:
Great Spotted Woodpecker © Mike Snelle
It is anticipated that the majority of people using the centre will probably arrive by private car and coach, but provision will also need to be made for clear and safe walking routes and cycle routes. Anticipated visitor numbers are 100,000 per annum. Parking will need to be provided for 100 cars, 2/3 coaches, together with provision of informal overflow parking.
In order to make best use of the available project budget, the site layout should seek to utilise and build−upon existing infrastructure wherever possible. From a planning perspective, it may be advantageous for the nature and wellbeing centre building to be accommodated within the footprint of the existing buildings. Designers are welcome to explore alternative layouts in order to maximise the site′s potential but will be expected to make strategic design choices to demonstrate deliverability of the proposals within the stated £2m project budget.
Proposals should include all landscaping costs.
Additional desirable components
Please be aware that this brief is aspirational and we may need to compromise or make adaptations.