Colliery to be turned into eco park

Published:  03 May, 2011

NEWSTEAD: A disused colliery spoil tip in north Nottinghamshire is being transformed into a country park in an ecological community initiative. The project is to be filmed for a BBC documentary, to be shown later this year.

Part of the project at Newstead Village includes the building of an eco 'earthship' visitor centre, with the main structure being made out of hundreds of old vehicle tyres.

The construction will be one of the largest of its kind in the world when complete. It has attracted interest from Trent University, which is researching the technical implications of this building method.

The eco-build visitor centre will also have an earth roof to reduce water run-off and special glazing, thermal insulation, and an abundance of other environmentally sustainable technological features that will make the centre ultra-energy efficient. On completion the earthship will provide power back to the national grid.

Said Mike Bailey, project manager of principal contractors Merriman: "When filled with earth, the tyres have thermal properties that enable them to act as a heat store. Normally, tyre fitters have to pay to dispose of tyres to landfill - so we were able to get 1500 tyres delivered to build the main wall of the visitor centre, at no cost to the project."

When completed in late May, the centre - designed by architects Waugh-Thistleton – will have a variety of community uses including educational purposes to show how regeneration can be achieved using renewable materials. 

The earthship overlooks a fishing lake created by Merriman, which will also be managed by the local community. Revenues from the fishing lake will be used to help maintain the visitor centre.

Newstead Village won a place on the Big Lottery Fund and BBC's Village SOS programme last year.

Village SOS is an initiative designed to inspire a UK rural revival and it is funding rural villages to develop new business ventures that will breathe new life into their areas, create new jobs and improve the quality of life for local people.

The BBC is filming to produce a documentary in June. This project will be one of six being featured from around the UK.

The scheme has also been supported with Local Improvement Scheme funding from Nottinghamshire County Council.

Family-owned Merriman has been the main contractor for the wider regeneration of the former Annesley Colliery site for three years, remediating the land, addressing contamination and stability issues and regenerating the environment around a series of lagoons now rich with birdlife.

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