The countryside around County Durham has been shaped by the winning of coal through mineral extraction. The development on a former colliery ‘slag heap’ included a new regional factory outlet centre and country park with the landscape playing a major role in the regeneration strategy.
The scale of the development resulted in the shifting of over 600,000m³ of colliery shale, creating dynamic landforms with six different habitat zones, including woodland, meadow, scrubland, and wetland. The latter forms part of an integral sustainable drainage strategy that consists of filter zones, filtration ponds, and attenuation ponds. A network of pathways, boardwalks and bridges, combined with signage interpretation and public art comprise the complimentary offer leisure and retail activities proposed for the 35-hectare site.
Part of the scheme’s success was M+A’s technical solution for the manufacture of topsoil from waste material and colliery shale saving £3 million from the projected construction budget.