Final stage of plans for Whitburn Coastal Conservation Center near Souter Lighthouse submitted to planning chiefs


South Tyneside Council’s planning department recently received an application for land near Souter Lighthouse.

When completed, the center will offer a range of facilities, including an interactive coastal activity area, a birdwatching area and a multipurpose learning space, as well as public toilets.

Artist’s impression of what the planned coastal conservation center might look like.

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It would also provide a base for coastal wildlife groups while allowing for the expansion of outdoor events and activities at Souter Lighthouse and The Leas.

At the time, it was suggested that an existing septic tank supplying the Souter Lighthouse would be used for the new project, with infrastructure upgrading in the future.

Plans for the new attraction have been in development since at least 2019

New National Trust plans, submitted in September, seek permission to provide services to the Coastal Conservation Center and to improve the provision of services to the Souter Lighthouse complex.

This includes a new underground sewage pumping chamber for the Souter Lighthouse complex and the proposed Coastal Conservation Centre, as well as new power and data supplies for the center itself.

A Design and Access Statement submitted with the plans provides further details of the development including ‘trenching works’.

The supporting document adds: “The Whitburn Coastal Conservation Center is due to begin construction shortly and the upgrade of service delivery in the locality has now been brought forward.

The new site is designed to provide a base for coastal wildlife groups, while allowing for the expansion of events and outdoor activities at Souter Lighthouse and The Leas.

“This application therefore seeks to improve services by replacing the existing septic tank with a new underground foul waste pumping chamber, together with the associated drainage connections to remove foul waste from the new proposal and the existing lighthouse complex in the public sewer.

“This includes a new section of private sewer and a short section of new surface water sewer to connect to the existing supply. In addition, there is a new power and data supply.

The supporting document also refers to an “options assessment” which concluded that “connecting to public sewer was a better long-term solution than upgrading on-site treatment, both in terms of environmental risks, carbon impact and life cycle costs.

The latest plans submitted to South Tyneside Council for review include sewage management measures at the site.

It is proposed to install three “data conduits” between the Souter Lighthouse complex and the new conservation centre.

According to the planning documents, this “will provide network connectivity for the center and communications for a stand-alone alarm system, as well as flexibility for any future requirements”.

The design and access statement adds: ‘The scale and scope of the proposal has been kept to a minimum, carefully balancing the needs and expectations of visitors with the need to conserve and enhance the natural environment. and historical.

“It is considered to be fully compliant with national and local policy and the proposal will continue to support the experience of visitors to the site and surrounding areas.”


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