Borders bird conservation centre proposals lodged

Plans have been submitted for a conservation and breeding centre for endangered birds in the Scottish Borders.

Community interest company Birds Gardens Scotland wants to develop a 200 square metre visitor centre made from straw and lime morter at its site in Oxton, near Lauder.

The building will provide a classroom, conference facilities, a resource area, library, coffee shop, and outdoor play area.

Owen Joiner, the conservation biologist behind the organisation, said: “We’re delighted that planning permission has been granted and work can now beginning on the build. We will be using traditional techniques to construct the centre and hope that local groups and students will get involved in the process. Once open, the centre will showcase a more sustainable way of living; the café will use food grown in our kitchen garden and a reed bed water filtration system will be installed to process waste. As the entrance to the grounds, the centre will provide a place to meet, learn and play.

“It’s taken a lot of hard work to get to this point but with the help of Business Gateway Scottish Borders we have been able to establish safe and ethical working protocols. Our adviser, Wilma Norris, has been fabulous. Her guidance has been invaluable and her understanding of all aspects of business from social media strategy to IT is exemplary. She sees the person, and the organisation, and then she visualises how it should work.”

Wilma Norris, adviser at Business Gateway, added: “Bird Gardens Scotland is an exciting project that has the potential to bring real benefits to the region. Faced with a raft of complicated paperwork, Owen turned to us for guidance and used our advice to establish both his health and safety policy and policies pertaining to children and vulnerable people. He has also benefited from our knowledge of local funding packages, successfully applying for money to build pathways that now traverse the grounds.”

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