Broadland projects on PM's shortlist

Two Broadland projects were have been deemed to be among the best public buildings in the UK after making it on to a prestigious prime ministerial shortlist.

Two Broadland projects were have been deemed to be among the best public buildings in the UK after making it on to a prestigious prime ministerial shortlist.

Culture minister David Lammy announced that the Whitlingham Country Park water activities centre and the Broadland flood alleviation project had made it on to the shortlist of the Prime Minister's Public Building Award.

They were placed up against stiff opposition - including from the £40m National Assembly for Wales and the Sir Norman Foster-designed City of London Academy.

Others on the 14-building shortlist include the M25 junctions 12-15 widening project, the Jamestown viaduct is Inverkeithing and the Paddington bridge in London.

Judges on the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (Cabe) panel described Whitlingham water centre as "an unusual and delightful project".

The £1.6m outdoor education centre, on land owned by the Colman mustard family in Trowse, near Norwich, was opened last September, gives youngsters a chance to enjoy water sports on the Broads.

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Its design was inspired by traditional Norfolk seaside chalets and was built using traditional boat building craft methods, with its roof resembling a resting bird with outstretched wings.

Judges said they selected it for its creativity, innovation and sustainable construction.

Yesterday Paul Hoey, the centre's outdoor education adviser, said: "The new centre not only has a strong visual impact, it also provides a tremendous opportunity to learn a wide range of outdoor and adventurous activities such as canoeing, sailing and windsurfing."

The Broadland flood alleviation project is a strategic scheme aimed at protecting Halvergate Marshes, grazing land supporting a unique wildlife habitat between Yarmouth and Reedham.

The three-year project involve replacing existing defences with a softer, more sustainable reeded edge, setting them back 25m to 50m further than before to promote more open water.

Judges last night described the scheme as "an effective but sensitive response".

Peter Bishop, spokesman for Besl, which built the scheme on behalf of the Environment Agency and Broads Authority, said: "We're delighted to be shortlisted, it shows that we're clearly doing something right."

The award was set up by Tony Blair to recognise excellence in design of publicly-funded building schemes. The winner will be announced on October 26.