New Ecology Centre in Holland Park – FAQs

Why do we need a new Ecology Centre?

The existing Ecology Centre is based in the Stable Yard in Holland Park.  It is a converted stable block and does not offer the flexibility needed for an education centre.

It is not suitable for open access to the public therefore we miss many opportunities to inform and educate members of the public on a variety of green topics (ecology, sustainability, recycling, natural arts).

Other limitations of the current centre include:

  • restricted views (limiting audience numbers at talks)
  • difficult teaching space due to the structure of the building
  • poor facilities for cleaning and storing equipment
  • poor lighting
  • no toilet facilities within the building
  • poor wash up and hand washing facilities
  • no reception area

A new centre is needed to effectively promote awareness and understanding of biodiversity.  The carefully designed, purpose-built centre will provide an open access space which will be used to deliver a wide variety of information.

What is happening and when?

Work will start at the end of 2012 and the new centre is expected to open in September 2013.

What is happening to the Play Hut building?

The Play Hut building and sheltered seating area will be demolished to make way for the new Ecology Centre.  This existing Play Hut building is unattractive and too small to host all the activities a new centre would need to provide.

What is happening to Play Ranger Programme?

The Play Ranger Programme will continue, although it does close each year from October to June and therefore should not be affected during the building works.  When it begins again it will be in the new Ecology Centre.

What is happening to Children’s Forum?

The Children’s Forum will still happen in Holland Park during the works, and will move into the new centre when it opens.

What will be included in the new Ecology Centre?

The proposed new building will provide a purpose-built, fully accessible centre.  It will include a reception area, classroom and other teaching areas, fully accessible internal and external toilets and a staff office.

Will Holland Park adventure playground be closed?

Some parts of the playground will temporarily be closed during the works to make sure everyone remains safe and there is no danger to park users.  Once the work is completed the playground will be fully reopened.

What times will the new centre be open?

The centre will be open 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday and some weekends.  The centre will be used by schools groups between 10am to 3pm on a daily basis during the week; approximately 25 hours per week. 

The centre will be closed to the public when occupied with school groups but outside of these hours, the reception area will be open to the public and will display live animals and insects as well as information displays and leaflet stands.

Who is doing the work?

The architects are Munkenbeck + Partners Architects  who have a vast amount of experience working on bespoke and award-winning buildings including the Mount Stuart Visitor Centre on the Isle of Bute in Scotland and the Roche Court Sculpture Gallery and Artist’s House in Wiltshire.

The builders are Gowlain Building (GB) Group, who have been involved in many new-build education and public sector projects.