A green building in a green setting, Pavilion in the Park, Poundbury.

Dorset Council at its first Full Council meeting in May 2020, declared a Climate and Ecological Emergency for Dorset, this resulted in producing a Climate and Ecological Emergency Strategy which highlights eight key areas for action ensuring the Council and Dorset will work towards being carbon-neutral by 2040. In response, the newly built Pavilion in The Park ( PiP) Poundbury, which houses a café, public toilets, a community space and office for the youth charity The Alcohol Education Trust, who will run the building, have installed solar power as well as used reclaimed, reused and recycled materials in the build as much as possible.
The Alcohol Education Trust (formerly working out of a garden garage) raised the funds over two years to build the Pavilion, and thanks to support from Low Carbon Dorset and The Duchy of Cornwall, have been able to install 16 solar panels and a Tesla battery that will help serve the power needs of the building. In addition, with help from CG Fry, the charity has used reclaimed slates, reclaimed paving slabs – even carpet tiles and the interior is clad using old wooden pallets and scaffolding boards crafted by Dorset Design works. Thanks to the generosity of Moto services much of the furniture and café equipment is pre-loved too! Finally, air to air heating and a well-insulated build will ensure PiP is as green as possible. The solar alone will save about 4 tons of CO2 per year equivalent to about 9000 miles in a diesel car.

The Mayor of Dorchester, Richard Biggs, Katie Dawes from Low Carbon Dorset, The Town Clerk Adrian Stuart, Peter Lacey of The Duchy of Cornwall, Richard Gower and Hannah Warre of Dorset Design works and Dan Cole of Wessex Eco Energy joined Helena Conibear, CEO of The Alcohol Education Trust at PiPs on the 17th March to view the finished building, which will open to the public on April 19th on a sitting outside and take away basis. Offering home-made and local cakes, bakes, a hot special of the day and open 9 – 5pm Tuesday – Sunday inclusive, you can learn more via the Instagram page @pippoundbury or twiiter @pipspoundbury or you can email lucy@pipspoundbury.com The website www.pipspoundbury.com will be live soon.

Dan Cole of Wessex Eco Energy commented:

“The Pavilion’s SunPower solar panels, which are very low profile, are market leading in performance and will work hard to supply PiP’s with green energy for most of the year. Any spare solar energy is stored by the Tesla Powerwall battery and this also gives power in a power cut. The Powerwall can store enough energy to boil a kettle for about 6 hours continuously or a low energy light bulb for 2700 hours”.

Heather Kiel, Programme Manager – Low Carbon Dorset said:

We are thrilled to support this project, this is a great example of an organisation taking action to support a greener future here in Dorset. By building their new site off the gas grid the Alcohol Education Trust shows a real commitment to minimising their carbon footprint. And their new solar panels and battery storage will mean they can make the very most of the electricity they generate from their solar panels.

Peter Lacey, Duchy of Cornwall commented:

The Duchy are delighted to support the AET in the development of this long-anticipated facility, which complements the approach to sustainability that is at the heart of Poundbury. The Princes Foundation Architects design has been delivered to an excellent standard by CG Fry and completion of the building marks another milestone in the transformation of the Great Field. Over 20,000 shrubs and 400 trees have been planted over the last 18 months, with over a kilometre of paths and new wildflower meadows. ‘The Great Field is a very significant project for the Duchy of Cornwall, delivering fantastic community assets, with the Pavilion in the Park (PiP) at its centre. There are elements for a wide range of users, alongside the creation of varied environmental habitats.” The Duchy are continuing the investment with the development of a large play area and an amphitheatre during the course of this year. On completion the Great Field will be managed by Dorchester Town Council, with whom the Duchy have been liaising throughout the project.”

Richard Biggs, Mayor of Dorchester said:

“I’m so pleased to have had the chance to visit the new Pavilion in the Park. With summer approaching and lockdown being gradually removed the café in particular will prove popular as residents start to explore what The Great Field has to offer.
As a Council that is committed to refitting its buildings to reduce their carbon footprint it’s also really good to see that the Alcohol Education Trust have had the foresight to create a new building that takes full advantage of green technology from the outset.”

Helena Conibear CEO of The Alcohol Education Trust commented:

Making PiP’s as green as possible not only makes sense for the environment, but saves us building and running costs too. I love the app on my phone that tells me how much power the roof is generating and whether we are self-sufficient or not! We have managed to kit out the whole building almost entirely with donations – from the chairs, to our desks, everyone’s been so kind! I’d particularly like to thank Moto who have been so generous, especially when COVID has made things so difficult.


In photo from left to write are: Richard Gower and Hannah Warre of Dorset Design works, Dan Cole of Wessex Eco Energy, Peter Lacey Duchy of Cornwall, Helena Conibear , CEO The Alcohol Education Trust
Adrian Stuart Clerk to Town Council and Katie Dawes Low Carbon Dorset.

Photo Credit: Neil Crick ARPS.