A NATURE reserve is set to add an education centre as plans have been given the green light by planning bosses.

Daws Hall Nature Reserve in Lamarsh will be replacing the existing education centre and build a new purpose-built, single storey education and visitor centre in its place.

Daws Hall began in the early 1960s, when Major Iain Grahame purchased Daws Hall and started a Wildfowl Farm.

From there grew the idea of a nature reserve that would provide a valuable educational resource for schools to visit. This became the charity, the Daws Hall Trust.

The Nature Reserve was later established in 1981 before the Daws Hall Centre for Environmental Learning opened in 1985.

Today, the Daws Hall Reserve and Centre for Outdoor Learning is run and managed by Daws Hall Trust, a charity established by Major Grahame in 1988 to secure the future of the Reserve.

The new education and visitor centre will be single-storey and will provide two classrooms for up to 60 children, a kitchen, office and reception area, exhibition space, toilet, boots and coat area, a bird hide and covered observation desk.

A car park of 17 spaces including three disabled spaces will be provided and there will also be new vehicular access onto Lamarsh Hill.

There will also be space for a visiting coach during events like school trips.

The plans received no objections from Alphamstone and Lamarsh Parish Council or technical consultees.

In the planning meeting, Labour councillor for Bocking North David Mann said: “Ordinarily if this was a pure commercial building in its very rural location, I don’t think we’d be disposed towards it, but this is mixed use and I think we can examine it on its merits, which I think are considerable.

“In the past I have been roped in with parties of primary school children to visit so I know the educational work that is done is significant.”

Conservative councillor for Great Notley and Black Notley Frankie Ricci seconded this, saying: “Lucky to have been there a few times myself as a primary and secondary school student.

“It is a great part of the district, and as councillor Mann has said usually it would have given us some cause for concern, but in this context, it is absolutely right to support the decision for recommendation.”