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Last Updated: Tuesday, 24 January 2006, 12:38 GMT
25m green village a step closer
The former Lafarge cement works
The eco village would be on the site of the former cement works
A revolutionary 25m eco-village on the site of a former cement works in Weardale has moved a step closer.

Durham County Council wants to build the learning centre on the site of the former Lafarge factory which closed in August 2002 with the loss of 147 jobs.

The centre, to be called the Watershed, is expected to attract 300,000 visitors a year and would demonstrate ways to renew solar, wind and hydro power.

The council has applied to the Lottery Fund for 20m towards the project.

The learning centre is a joint venture between the council and Endeavour, a national charity which specialises in the education of 14 to 19-year-olds through outdoor and residential education.

'Economic balance'

The centre in Eastgate would also include training and conference facilities and residential accommodation for 100,000 young people a year offering outdoor activities including rock climbing, conservation work and mountain biking.

Leader of Durham County Council, Ken Manton, said: "The redevelopment is an important opportunity for the region, to provide a unique attraction, of national and international significance.

"This will not only redress the economic balance following the job losses when the cement works closed, but will also provide Weardale with a new landmark, which could attract as many visitors as Beamish Museum. "

Plans for the centre, to be drawn up in consultation with local people, will be part of the planning application by the Weardale Task Force, and are expected to be submitted for consideration later this year.

Call for jobs at cement site
08 Aug 03 |  Wear

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