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Hostel developers ask for green advice

PUBLISHED: 16:39 24 June 2010 | UPDATED: 17:31 01 July 2010

The Ferry Boat

The Ferry Boat

Matthew Sparkes

Developers behind a Norwich backpackers' hostel are asking for help from local firms to make it one of the greenest buildings in the county.

The hostel will be built in the former Ferry Boat pub on King Street, near the Riverside complex, which has been sitting empty for four years.

Developers behind a Norwich backpackers' hostel are asking for help from local firms to make it one of the greenest buildings in the county.

The hostel will be built in the former Ferry Boat pub on King Street, near the Riverside complex, which has been sitting empty for four years.

Alister Borthwick and his son Jason, who created the Deepdale Farm campsite on the North Norfolk Coast, plan to turn it into an eco-friendly hostel with 200 rooms to attract tourists to the city.

The centre would offer rooms from as little as £9.50 per night, cycle and canoe hire and a cafe and tourist information centre.

Jason Borthwick said that plans for the five-storey building will be submitted to Norwich City Council for approval within a month and that he hoped work would start this year.

He aims to produce a design so energy efficient that it actually creates more electricity than it uses - but he needs help from local renewable energy companies.

He said that creating an environmentally friendly business was vital to keep costs down and reduce its impact on the environment.

“We want to make something really eco-friendly,” he said.

“Although it looks relatively traditional we want it to be really innovative in terms of the building materials we're using.

“We're looking at things like straw bale building, wooden frame structure, whole-roof photovoltaic, solar panels to heat all the hot water.

“We're hoping it will be something really quite different and what we're looking for at the moment is interesting, innovative ideas.”

He said that he is currently searching for firms that can help to reduce the building's carbon footprint and that it would be ideal if they were local.

“What we want it to be is something really quite exceptional so it's a landmark for Norwich,” he said.

“The more local the better. It would be absolutely superb to offer a showpiece as a real kick-off for some of the amazing Norfolk renewable companies.

“It's a partnership made in heaven if we do it right.”

He said that although the plans are unusual he hoped they would be approved by the council.

“It's difficult because I don't think they or anyone else has thought about what they'd like to see happen to the FerryBoat,” said Jason Borthwick.

“We slightly shocked them with what we presented. It will add a life to the place which has got to be positive for all the local area.”

For more information on the project visit www.norwichbackpackers.co.uk

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