Eco village is on the shortlist

PUBLISHED: 16:34 06 April 2006 | UPDATED: 09:06 24 May 2010

A TEAM of environmentalists planning to turn Barrow Gurney Hospital into the country's biggest eco village have revealed their scheme has made it onto the shortlist. The Sustainable Initiative for Barrow (SIB) put forward multi-million pound plans to deve

A TEAM of environmentalists planning to turn Barrow Gurney Hospital into the country's biggest eco village have revealed their scheme has made it onto the shortlist.The Sustainable Initiative for Barrow (SIB) put forward multi-million pound plans to develop the former hospital site when it was put on the market last year.Now it has been revealed that the group has been shortlisted as one of the final two bidders for the site by its owners, the Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership.SIB also revealed this week it had won the backing of Bristol Old Vic to work towards establishing a theatre school for technicians as part of the redevelopment.SIB spokesman Gaile Stevens said: "The bids went in at the end of January and we have held our breath for the last few weeks, hoping the trust would understand the merits of the proposal and agree to sell us the site. We believe we are down to the last two bidders."However we have not been idle and have now secured backing from Bristol Old Vic to work towards establishing a theatre school for technicians."The plans put forward by the SIB group, which is made up of businesses, green organisations and individuals, include the creation of a craft village and the first outdoor theatre in the Bristol area.Eco houses will be built on the site and mini festivals and craft fairs held.A hotel, a pub with its own on-site brewery and a youth hostel for visitors will also be included.An education centre will also be set up offering weekend training courses, including thatching, straw bale making and glass blowing.Miss Stevens said: "Our plans to develop an extensive education programme, which will include amongst others apprentice shops in sustainable construction, and the desire to provide an affordable live/work community are driving us forward."We have had over a hundred people express an interest in being part of this proposed community."Miss Stevens said the group was also in discussion with Sustrans to extend the cycle route to the south of Bristol and through the site.She added: "We would be interested in hearing from any other individuals, families, businesses or organisations who feel that our plans for Barrow fit with their wants and needs."Our website, www.sib.org.uk gives some idea of what we are proposing and there is a feedback/response section which can be used to register interest."We believe that there is a growing need for communities like Barrow to be established nationwide.

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