Plans are well underway to revitalise England’s National Stone Centre into an “internationally significant centre of excellence”.
The project is being spearheaded by the Institute of Quarrying in England and the National Stone Centre, who have merged, with a price tag of £6.5 million ($12,675,650 AUD).
According to the Institute’s website, it believes the NSC can become a “fantastic” visitor destination with this new injection of funding. With the Institute’s investment in the multi-million-dollar product, the new centre will serve as a tourist destination and facility for IQ members.
The reimagined National Stone Centre is set to feature a suite of new upgrades when work is completed.
These upgrades include a 100-seater café/restaurant, souvenir shop, an open-air piazza for community events, four classrooms and a children’s playground. The Institute will have its offices relocated to the NSC, where it can roll out programs on digitisation, circular economy, zero carbon and diversity in quarrying.
IQ President Viv Russell said the centre would become a destination that the quarrying and minerals products industry can use to engage its employees and other stakeholders vital to the future of the sector.
“This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create a hugely exciting new visitor centre that celebrates the extraordinary role that stone plays in all of our lives, to inspire the next generation and create a centre of excellence to develop the knowledge and skills of people in the industry today,” he said in a release.
The proposal was unanimously supported by the Derbyshire Dales District Council earlier this year. Work is expected to start this year with an 18-month window proposed for completion.
The Insititute of Quarrying has stated it expects to receive confirmation of detailed planning consent in due course.
“Stone and quarrying have played an important role in the industrial heritage of this area and continue to play a vital role in supporting the local economy of Derbyshire,” Group Chairman of Longcliffe Quarries Robert Shields said in a statement.
“The National Stone Centre is a fantastic facility which celebrates this. These plans are all about building on the value of an already important centre and enhancing the skills and innovation of our local economy as well as the wider industry.”