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Duke is inspired by firms at Bradford eco-site
8:20am Wednesday 24th October 2012 in News
Beekeepers exchanged notes with a member of the Royal family after he revealed he had introduced hives at Kensington Palace.
Bill and Lyn Cadmore, of the Bradford Beekeepers' Association, discussed the hobby with the Duke of Gloucester during his visit to the new £4 million Inspire Bradford business park at Eccleshill, which he officially opened.
The Duke said he had installed some hives at the palace and these were being used by university researchers to compare any differences between urban and country bees.
The Association, which has two hives each housing 50,000 European honey bees at the business park, was one of several tenants the Duke met during a tour of the site.
He also tried his hand at insulating a wall panel with material made from recycled denim jeans when he met David Garlovsky, of Sheffield-based social enterprise Solar-Active, which makes the material used for interior insulation at Inspire’s buildings.
The Duke also met Helen Barraclough, Holly MacGregor and Andy Willis, of Space Connections, a national organisation that provides teachers and schools with educational resources about space and the universe. Space Connections moved its base from Bradford College to Inspire where it has offices and workshop space.
He also toured the premises of Special Needs Objective Outreach Project (SNOOP) which offers care for children and young people aged between two and 25 with disabilities and complex health needs. The organisation is run by Carol Beardmore and Carol Amery who showed him round.
Inspire, which is Europe’s largest straw bale building, incorporates a range of innovative, environmentally-friendly features designed to ensure that the development has minimal impact on its surroundings.
Funding for the development included £1.019m of investment from the European Regional Development Fund programme in Yorkshire, £1m from the Community Builders Fund and £990,000 from Bradford Council’s Local Enterprise Growth Initiative The Duke of Gloucester, who is a corporate member of the Royal Institute of British Architects, praised the Newlands Community Association, which owns and operates Inspire, for successfully getting the project off the ground.
While he had previously opened a couple of housing developments using straw bales, this was the first commercial development of its type he had come across.
The Duke told guests that he had experience of developing small workshops in redundant buildings at his farm after dairy farming became uneconomic and it converted to arable production.
“That has resulted in a small community which has enabled the tenants to help and support each other and I’m sure that that can happen here also. I look forward to hearing about its success in the future. It has been a pleasure to come to Bradford to tour this building and declare it open.”
Earlier, the Duke presented a Queens Award for Enterprise in International Trade to Bradford-based vehicle mirror manufacturer Ashtree Glass. He presented the award to Ashtree’s founder and managing director Alan Roper and sales director John Roper.
Over the past three years Ashtree, which makes rear-view mirrors and fittings for commercial vehicles, has increased export sales by 86 per cent, mainly to Germany and France.
In 2011 the company was a double winner in the T&A’s Bradford Means Business Awards.
The Duke also officially opened the company’s £300,000, 6,000 sq ft factory extension at its base in a converted dyehouse in Brownroyd Street, off Thornton Road, which has been added to meet growing demand for its products. The new development is expected to create some new jobs to boost the company’s 26-strong workforce “The Duke showed a real interest in our operations and his visit was very enjoyable,” said Alan Roper, who will attend a reception for Queen's Award winners at Buckingham Palace next month which will be hosted by The Queen.