Environmental Hub, BH2 5JF
Last updated 21st February 2023
A new destination helping to deliver a step-change in the reduction of waste and elimination of single-use packaging along Bournemouth, Christchurch, and Poole’s beautiful seafront.
Demolition November 2020
Construction February 2021 to November 2022 (outside peak season)
Opened February 2023
About the building
The Hub is an example of sustainable construction. Footprint Architects designed the buildings around the concepts of reusing and recycling materials.
The materials used have a low embodied carbon footprint i.e. low carbon dioxide emissions in their manufacture, transport to site and use in construction. That also takes into consideration what happens to the building materials at the end of the building’s life and choosing materials which can be reused or recycled in future.
As much as possible, locally sourced, renewable and recycled materials have been used in the design and construction of the Hub. The design uses natural materials and minimises the use of plastics and steel, replacing a lot of that with recycled timber taken from other sites where it is no longer of use.
The site consists of 3 structures, connected by an oversailing green roof.
The refreshments kiosk is run by the BCP Council Catering Team who are committed to reducing packaging sold from the kiosk, to help reduce waste generated. They are trialling a different offer at Durley which includes:
- Not selling products wrapped in single use plastic
- Plastic bottled water will not be available at this kiosk. Tap water is available from the Hydration Station outside the kiosk. Reusable water bottles are available to purchase for those that don’t have their own bottle.
- Additionally, the kiosk won’t be selling any packaged drinks i.e. carton drinks. Instead, returnable cups will be used for drinks.
Green roof and SSSI
The green roof is planted with species complimentary to the vegetation growing on the cliffs behind. There’s low lighting design for bats and bat boxes have been placed above the greenroof. On the northern side of the building are starling boxes.
There has been further planting on the raised area behind the deck which used to house a portacabin block.
Look behind on the cliff and you may be able to see goats grazing. This grazing programme is run by BCP Council’s Countryside Team who are managing the cliffs to improve their biological diversity and the geological interest.
The Kiosk and Toilet Block
The kiosk and toilet block walls are formed of graded concrete layers emulating the geology of the cliff behind (part of the Poole Bay Cliffs Site of Special Scientific Interest). These cliffs are important for their geology formed of layers of sediment from early-mid Eocene freshwater beds.
The concrete used is low carbon concrete (which is believed to also act as a carbon sink) incorporating up to 80% cement replacements taken from by-products of other industries. The buildings have natural ventilation and are not heated.
Examples of the use of recycled materials can be clearly seen in the toilet cubicles. The integrated plumbing system panels are made from recycled plastic bottle tops; you can still see text written on them in some areas. The flooring in the buildings is an eco-screed incorporating recycled glass.
The use of reclaimed timber
The decked area and the main building use 45 tonnes of timber recycled from old groynes removed from the seafront as part of the 17-year Poole Bay Beach Management Scheme led by BCP Council’s Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management (FCERM) team.
In May 2020, the council received £33 million funding from the Environment Agency to progress the timber groyne renewal programme across Poole and Bournemouth; during 2022/23 the work has been happening around Bournemouth Pier [about the project].
This timber groyne renewal is essential in ensuring we protect our local communities from coastal flooding and erosion. Life expired timber groynes are deconstructed, and the wood carefully selected for recycling in projects such as this.
Timber from the old groynes has been milled and used below the deck as structural supports and more visibly, for all the cladding of the main building. The primary structure for the green roof needed to be structurally sound for the weight of the roof, and these timbers were sourced from Forest Stewardship Council certified sources. The secondary timbers for the canopy roof structure are also reclaimed wood from the seafront groynes. A further 7 tonnes of recycled timber used to finish the floor of the deck was sourced from a German naval shipyard.
The main building is a timber framed structure, highly insulated with recycled material. It is built to passivhaus standards. Passivhaus is a recognised standard for designing buildings that are highly energy efficient.
A twin wall system and recycled magazines have been used to create a highly insulated and airtight building, with triple glazed Rationel windows. A heat recovery air handling unit will manage the temperature and air quality within the building.
Inside, the finish is a formaldehyde free plywood lining. The ceiling panels are made using recycled wood, with acoustic boards used in the upstairs room for sound insulation.
At the front of the main building a ‘Brise Soleil’ – a specially angled ‘bladed’ fixture that cuts out direct summer sun – provides natural summer shading and allows solar warming in winter.
Power, energy generation and water management
On the roof of the main building is an array of photovoltaic panels these help create a zero-carbon development whilst in use. To energise the site, a new substation was required. This allows the site to generate power to feed back into the grid and take off the grid during winter.
While works for this were taking place, opportunities to future proof the site were also taken in using the same trenches to bring data to the site and provide EV charging points for seafront vehicles.
The holes in the canopy roof allow for natural irrigation of the planted beds below. Surface water runoff is controlled passively through attenuation on the green roof and through permeable paving elsewhere on site.
Functions of the building
To the east of the main building is BCP Council’s Waste Transfer Yard, licenced by the Environment Agency. It is used as a holding yard for debris and litter removed from the beach.
The Council removes around 2,000 tons of waste from Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole’s beaches every year. Most of that is left during the summer. The Council spends £1 million a year keeping the beaches clean and much of the waste collected cannot be recycled.
Part of the 2-storey building provides welfare facilities for the staff collecting the waste. They can start on site at 3am in the summer months, raking the beaches on tractors and litter picking before visitors arrive.
The rest of the main building can be used as an education facility and meeting room.
The long-term aim remains to develop the venue into an education space for residents, visitors, schools and families to drive a step change in behaviour and build environmental guardianship of our coastline.
BCP Council commissioned a report by environmental not-for-profit organisation, City to Sea, setting out ambitious proposals for how single-use plastic can be reduced on our beaches.
City to Sea works with organisations to run behaviour change campaigns highlighting how small actions can make a big difference. They estimate that if just 1 in 10 residents of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole refilled a water bottle just once a week, over a million plastic bottles a year would be saved.
- Turning the Tide, download the full report (PDF 3Mb)
By reducing packaging and testing systems of reuse, the Hub aims to make it easier for seafront visitors to make environmentally sound choices. More detailed plans are currently in development.
What is the purpose of the Environmental Hub?
The Hub provides a space where activities and learning can take place. There are two multi-functional rooms, and an open area for displays.
Why is it important?
- During 2020-2022 the amount of rubbish left on the beach was more apparent than ever, leading to negative impacts upon both the environment and Council resources.
- With around 2,000 tons of waste removed from Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole’s beaches every year, the hub will be part of the measures being taken along the seafront to focus on waste reduction in public spaces and will in future be a centre of focus for BCP Council’s efforts to educate and change behaviours along the seafront.
Why has the public toilet provision changed from the previous block?
- Six new unisex cubicles have been provided in the hub, together with an additional accessible WC and separate toilets for staff use in the welfare building. Together with the toilet cubicles provided at Chineside in 2015 this will complete the second phase of a wider strategy to replace the toilets that stood at Durley Chine.
- The new toilet provision is in accordance with the Seafront Strategy. The new facilities provide individual unisex cubicles, creating a more efficient and cost-effective solution allowing a higher turnover of users.
How is this building meeting the BCP Climate and Ecological Emergency declaration?
- The building has been designed to be a flagship for future innovation as a development with high environmental credentials, directly in response to the Climate and Ecological Emergency declaration.
- The ambition is to be a carbon neutral site in-use. The main building has been built to Passivhaus standards; it is designed to function with minimal heating and cooling requirements. This is achieved through careful design including high levels of insulation, efficient heating/cooling/ventilation technologies. Solar PV panels have also been provided.
- Most of the materials used in the construction of this project have been sourced locally, with some being from recycled sources. Similarly, many of these materials are recyclable for future use.
- Planting has been used to enhance the natural vegetation on the cliff and a green roof provides benefits for biodiversity and carbon fixing in addition to improving the visual aspect of the locality.
- Planning permission was granted on 5th November 2020 Planning Application ref: 7-2020-18384-S