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Hilbre Island - The Full Story

Hilbre Community Land Trust was established by three organisations, the British Art & Design Association (BADA), Hilbre Bird Observatory (HiBO) and the Friends of Hilbre (FOH) with the shared aim of securing a long term future for the important heritage buildings and protected landscape within the central portion of the island. The buildings, four of which are listed grade two, will be restored to create; a centre for the study of Art, Science and Sustainability, to expand the existing monitoring of migratory birds and to enable greater connection with the local community through educational activities. Working with the local authority a strategy has been designed which will ensure the sensitive restoration of the buildings and protection for the ecologically important landscape around them whilst providing facilities to enhance the work of artists, scientists and researchers on Hilbre. The particular condition of Hilbre as a tidal island, a nature reserve, a SSSI and a Ramsar site with no mains services requires a highly sustainable approach to energy, waste and water provision, one that works with the island and its natural resources of wind, sun and water, but also minimises consumption. Within the project boundary three buildings (Bouymasters House, Store and Workshop) will be adapted by BADA to create individual artists' studios, a shared research studio and a communal social space available for all users of the centre. Telegraph House will be used by HiBO to provide additional accommodation and facilities for tagging migratory birds, they are part of an international network of Bird Observatories and have bene active on Hilbre since 1957. The Day/School Room and the iconic Telegraph Station with its distinctive curved window will be run by FOH as an exhibition and information point for the island and a base for school groups and open days. The enclosed fields surrounding these buildings contain rare flora and fauna and the CLT will work with Natural England to ensure the protection of this environment. A number of organisations and individuals already use Hilbre for research and creative study, and BADA has been working with Liverpool John Moores University to identify these and establish their requirements which will form the basis of the design brief. This project is intended to provide a long term secure future for this sensitive heritage and ecological asset and will be funded by a combination of donations and grants, this process will allow time for the detail to evolve in consultation with others who care for the future of this magical place.

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