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Last Updated: Saturday, 15 October 2005, 04:46 GMT 05:46 UK
Wild bird centre design unveiled
Saltholme visitor centre
How the wild bird centre will look
The winning design for a wild bird discovery centre in the Tees Valley was being announced on Saturday.

The centre will be based at the multi-million pound Saltholme International Nature Reserve, to be built near Hartlepool.

The 4.1m centre will be at the heart of transformation of 1,000 acres of former industrial land on the north Tees into a world-class reserve.

The regeneration project will cost a total of 5.7m and open in 2007.

Saltholme, which is being developed in partnership with the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), is expected to attract at least 100,000 visitors a year and become one of the region's major tourist attractions.

Panoramic views

The chosen design features a futuristic structure that emerges out of the lakeside landscape through a feather-like roof structure, rising from a single ground storey to a second storey viewing tower.

Visitors will reach the centre by way of a drawbridge over the water and will get panoramic views across the Saltholme site.

Modern aircraft construction techniques will be used in the construction of the building, while the drawbridge and an external timber walkway provide echoes of earlier technology.

Kevin Bayes, RSPB Saltholme project manager, said: "The scale of Saltholme sets it apart from other projects of its kind.

"The transformation of this superb wetland area will give the people of the North East a world class facility right on their doorstep."

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