Whitburn Coastal Conservation Centre

A new marine conservation hub based at the Whitburn Coastal Park in Sunderland.

The National Trust is building a new conservation centre beside the Grade II-listed lighthouse at South Tyneside – the world’s first to be designed and built to use electricity. 

It will include displays showing the transformation of the North East’s coastline from a heavily polluted industrial area to the healthy landscapes and thriving natural habitats of today. The space will also be used to deliver events and activities and to help raise awareness of marine conservation issues.

Skelly & Couch is carrying out full M&E duties in the design of the new building on a vacant site, which take into account the need for sustainability despite intermittent use, and the arduous impact of the coastal location on plant. 

The new development is the focus of a new sustainability matrix introduced by the National Trust. Among the project’s sustainable features is its cross laminated timber (CLT) construction.

Skelly & Couch has also introduced: 

  • High-performance fabric and air tightness

  • Zoned mechanical ventilation with heat recovery

  • VRF heating and cooling as not in constant use

  • Internal thermal lines due to use of external WC/Store

  • Photovoltaics

  • Point-of-use hot water to prevent storing hot water losses

  • LED low-energy lighting.

The centre will play a key part in delivering the aims of the SeaScapes partnership, supported by the National Lottery’s Heritage Fund. Formed In November 2017, the partnership consists of over 20 organisations including the National Trust, South Tyneside Council, Durham Heritage Coast and Natural England. It aims to connect people with the coast between the rivers Tyne and Tees through a series of 30 projects focusing on heritage, wildlife and improvements to access.