From the very start of the development of the project, WCM has paid considerable attention to the mine design and its appearance to ensure that it was not only appropriate for the location but also that the design helped us to achieve our goals of preventing noise, dust and light pollution. Woodhouse Colliery will be situated on the former Marchon Industrial site near Whitehaven.
The buildings have been carefully designed to look very different to historical mine sites being low level, buried or visually screened to reduce impacts to an absolute minimum. The domed design of the fully enclosed structures is a modern and innovative approach designed to copy the curves of the hills in the surrounding area with a view to blending in once screening has matured.
The coal will be processed in a plant which is a ‘building within a building’ to further minimise noise, dust and light impacts. This preparation plant will include covered storage of coal from the mine as well as coal product after washing.
The proposed designs were presented to the local community at a series of public events between 2014 and 2017. We listened to comments and drew on this feedback in the creation of our final plans, which were submitted to Cumbria County Council (CCC) in May 2017.
Some of the revisions to our original designs, following on from feedback received, included:
• incorporation of more bunding and planting to reduce the visual impact to a minimum
• re-arranging the layout of the site to minimise noise
• reducing the overall height of the buildings
• enclosing the mine drifts to reduce surface noise, dust and light pollution
• creation of a public park area to the north of the site
• a footpath connecting High Road to the coastal footpath
• reduced height of the rail loader building
• rail loader design to blend into existing farm building surroundings