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Last Updated: Thursday, 24 April, 2003, 12:43 GMT 13:43 UK
Eco-friendly centre made of straw
James Fagg building the Romney Marsh visitor centre out of hay
Chestnut stakes are used to keep the straw bales in place
Five hundred bales of straw are being used to create an eco-friendly visitor centre in Kent.

The walls of the centre, at New Romney, will be constructed out of the bales, and the roof will be a garden of locally grown plants.

Folkestone firm Eco-Librium is building the centre for Shepway District Council at a cost of 220,000.

The building is expected to be finished at the end of the summer and will house displays on the history of the 100 sqm of marshes.

It is being created on the site of a former gravel pit at Romney Warren between St Mary's Bay and New Romney.

It is not like the three little pigs' house - it is not going to blow away
James Fagg, builder

Materials for the project were found near to the site to reduce transport costs.

The chestnut comes from the Weald and the straw comes from nearby farms.

Builder James Fagg said: "It is not like the three little pigs' house - it is not going to blow away.

"In the first two courses there are these chestnut stakes which when you place the bale on holds the first layer in place.

"Then subsequent bales sit on top and they are lopped into position and it forms the basis for the stability of the building."

The centre has been developed in partnership with a range of organisations with funding from Shepway District Council, The Environment Agency, Kent County Council, Community Action South Kent and The Dungeness Trust as well as others.

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