Reclaim the Earth Centre at Doncaster - People needed for planned occupation
The Earth Centre in Doncaster has been left to ruin for 5 years. We intend to take it back. This site now owned by the council was developed to be a sustainable living education centre and community farm. It is currently being used as a firing range by weapon enthusiasts Cerberus Airsoft. Its time to bring this valuable resource back to the people before it is sold off for development.
The Earth Centre was developed on derelict land left over from former coal pits, it was intended to be the museum for the millenium. Initial plans were for a gradual development of the site, incorporating community-led projects and with much construction work being undertaken by Mowlem, who used the site to train apprentices. The first stage of that project opened in 1994, including a sustainable aquaculture centre and a community farm.
In 1995 the Millennium Commission made an award to Earth Centre, which became one of its Landmark Millennium projects. The site was completely redesigned and virtually all existing landscaping and projects were destroyed, which lost the goodwill of the local community who felt excluded from the project. From 1996 work progressed on the remediation of the remaining polluted land and the design and construction of the many buildings and exhibitions.
In September 2004 the attraction closed to the public, and only pre-booked school parties were allowed. By the end of October, the Earth Centre, monument to Sustainability, was to the money men un-sustainable and was put in the hands of administrators. It is now in the hands of the Council who surprise surprise have made no effort to return it to its original intent. Instead the council chooses to allow access to Cerberus Airsoft a company specialising in providing war games and shooting outings to a select membership group. General public will be thrown off by the police!!
We think that this is an amazing site and the original concept behind the Earth Centre is a fantastically intelligent way of educating communities about sustainable living. It is now the time to return the Earth Centre to the people.
We need support in many forms to make this happen. To begin with we need people to come and help occupy the site, we will need tools and volunteers. This is a great opportunity for anyone that has been wanting to live in a community, in an eco village setting and a real chance to put South Yorkshire on the map for environmental education and lifestyle.
We’re planning a swoop on the site and then aim to transform it so that everyone can use it and benefit from its resources.
Please help contact - email@example.com
This is a very urgent matter!
The following story was published in local paper ‘Peterborough Today’ 15 February 2007
DONCASTER Council is poised to sell off the ill-fated Earth Centre to developers after admitting running costs mean it would be "extremely unlikely" it could be used by community groups.
The probable fate of the 200 remaining acres of the former £38 million green visitor attraction was revealed in the council's Corporate Asset Management Plan, presented to councillors last week.
The Earth Centre has been mothballed with 24-hour security patrols since it was wound up in 2004.
The Asset Management Plan presented to a meeting of the Economy and Enterprise Scrutiny Panel describes the Earth Centre as "extremely unlikely to find sustainable use from community or other not for profit groups because of the very high cost of running and maintaining both the buildings and the grounds." The report goes on to say that a "disposal solution" would be the "only viable option" for the site.
Ripon-based Pearson Developments Limited have submitted a planning application to build 300 houses, flats and offices on 17.5 acres of the 30 acres the company bought from the Millennium Commission. This land includes the former car park area and the lodge facilities.
Doncaster Council owns the remainder of the 200-plus acre site, including greenbelt land and the showpiece conference centre and galleries.
Their report adds: "Adjacent land owned by the Millennium Commission was sold in spring 2006 to a developer and discussions are in hand regarding a possible sale of the council's landholding potentially to the same developer."
Former Earth Centre member Bernard Pearson said: "All the money spent there was spent by the Millennium Commission from lottery money - I think the people who have paid into this should be taken into consideration. I don't think the Council has tried very hard to get rid of it."
Mr Pearson, who claims the maintenance bill for the site is in the region of £30,000 per month, added of the likely sell-off: "I think it is sad but it was what one would expect after two and a half years. I would look forward to seeing what proposals are put forward for the site. A lot of public money was invested in the site and I would hope the public will get something out of the arrangements."
Opened in March 1999 as one of the Government's flagship millennium projects, the Earth Centre was originally billed as an 'environmental theme park'.
But the projected visitor numbers failed to appear. A relaunch in 2001 saw the centre rebranded to appeal to business and education users, but its fortunes did not revive enough for the attraction to break even. It went into liquidation in 2004 and has been mothballed ever since.
Nobody at Doncaster Council was available for comment this week.
We will not allow this to happen action must be taken!
The Earth Centre is key in educating the world about the effects of climate change and sustainable living solutions
Check out what it’s got to offer!
• 80% of building materials were either reclaimed or recycled
• Europe’s largest flat-foot photovoltaic installation.1,300m2 canopy containing 250 photovoltaic panels – generating 80,000 KW of electricity per year and would run the systems and the galleries.
• Conference centre constructed largely from reclaimed materials including telegraph poles, crushed concrete, glass and radiators.
• A shop and café area
• 6500m2 black box gallery space conditioned through an underground thermal store called the Labyrinth
• "Living Machine" sewage treatment plant. A local water treatment system processing all waste water coming from Earth Centre toilets, basins and kitchens, operating entirely through biological reactions, using both bacteria and nutrient-demanding tropical plants in the warmth of a greenhouse.
• Fully integrated network of water management that incorporates rainwater harvesting and the treatment, storage and recycling of water for use in irrigation and water features and as a wildlife habitat.
• 100,000 new trees including 15 acres of willow as well as some ancient woodlands, two rivers and a variety of ecological grasslands and wetlands
• Demonstrations of organic gardening methods, fruit orchards, willow sculptures, forest and bog gardens, and other flower and sculptural gardens
All this and a pirate ship!
We need support for the takeover of the Earth Centre, we intend to transform it into a camp for sustainable living and community activism contact us now! A swoop date will be announced soon.