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Cronton Colliery

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  • the Oval partnership 2012

    a garden of earthly delight

    cronton collieryvisitor destination & public open space

  • site context

  • a garden of earthly delightWe propose a sensory garden for the 21st century, an inclusive place for the whole community of Knowsley and beyond. a garden for the arts, science, ecology and industrial heritage. a garden to foster community cohesion through ecological regeneration.It will be a beautiful setting for play, learning and entertainment, celebrating the vital roles of soil and sun in the formation of coal, the cultivation of food, the brewing of beer and thus the shaping of the local community. And it will look forward to new ways of living in harmony with the natural environment.The primary elements will include a community building with an organic bar and restaurant; cultivated gardens and interpretive material mapping the footprints of the original colliery buildings; wild, natural areas; and an outdoor amphitheatre for theatre and solar-powered cinema. These will be the setting for play, relaxation, learning, therapeutic gardening and sensory exploration.Our notion of a sensory garden is holistic, one that recognizes that all successful gardens are multi-sensory. Parts of the gardens will be designed in consultation with relevant specialists to provide appropriate stimulation and therapy for particular groups but the notion of sensory garden applies to the whole integrated proposal and embraces food, drink and entertainment.Our proposal would leave much of the already very attractive site relatively untouched and only lightly managed. A magical garden with an intensity and variety of experience can be created within a relatively small space. In this we are inspired by the popular success of Sissinghurst Gardens in Kent, the Walled Garden at Scampston in Yorkshire, Brockholes in Samlesbury and last years Serpentine Pavilion in London.

    We are aware that the success of these examples has resulted from the active single-minded, long-term involvement of individuals with vision and determination. Involvement by enthusiastic locals will be crucial. The holistic nature of the project could also be powerfully communicated by having popular champions from the worlds of science, the arts and ecology come together as a unique triumvirate to raise the wider profile of the Gardens.

    Cronton presents an opportunity to create a 21st century garden like no other: a radical contemporary garden that combines modern technology with plants to conjure food, drink and entertainment; space, volume, colour and

    texture out of the soil and sky. A constructed landscape built on principles of sustainability that enhances and extends habitat, generates its own energy and treats its own waste. The idea of a garden as a magical place of transformation is understood across all cultures. And historically Gardens have embraced both science and the arts. We believe that a strong identity can be created that will capture the popular imagination, quickly establishing a regional and even national profile enabling future expansion and an increasingly diverse programme of events. This will be reinforced by the presence of the neighbouring National Wildflower Centre (linked by the proposed NCR 62) and the regions already established reputation as a hotspot for more traditional garden visits.The aim is to use minimal means to create a critical mass of visitor attractions over a concentrated area. By constructing a live web presence the Garden of Earthly Delight begins its life as much in the virtual world as the real, with its own web-radio broadcasts building a following from gardeners, bird watchers, real ale enthusiasts, music fans, film buffs, amateur astronomers and wild food foragers.

  • Walking in the gardens

    Cronton Colliery Shaft PlansAbandonment No.10416 Yard Seam, Abandoned 1931 10958 felcroft seam, ab.1933 11564 pasture, earthy delf, prescot main delph, burgy 11793 cheshire, ab.193612635 pasture, ab.1940 14155 pasture, ab.1946 14187 earthy delf, ab.1941 14235 rushy park, ab.1946 nw174 london delf, wigan five feet, ab.1953nw201 yard, ab.1978nw368 crombouke, ince six feet, ab.1978 nw495 haigh yard (burgy), ab.1962 nw535 higher florida, ab.1964 nw593 london delf (felcroft), ab.1966 nw636 lower florida, ab.1966 nw637 pigeon house (cheshire), ab.1966 nw638 rushy park, ab.1967 nw689 wigan five feet, ab.1972 nw690 wigan four feet, ab.1972 nw695 plodder, ab.1974 nw727 higher florida, ab.1980 nw756 london delf, ab.1984 nw757 ince six feet, ab.1984sfe307 surface

  • Masterplan design

    native habitatmature forest

    young treesbrush

    grasslands & wildflowerswetlands


    movementfloating tracks

    minor pathsroad


    point of interestview out

    interpretative signagepotential site specific sculpture

    colliery gardens




  • Whiston Rainhill




    St Leos & Southmead Catholic Primary School

    The Watch Maker

    The Brickwall Inn

    The Unicorn InnThe Blackhorse Inn

    The Ship Inn

    Cronton C Of E Primary School

    Holy Family R C Primary School

    Tower College

    St Bartholomews Catholic

    Primary School

    Rainholl High School

    Holy Family CatholicPrimary School

    SchoolPublic Park Private Park Pub Foot Path Subsidiary Road High Way

    The Sylvester Primary School

    St Gabriels C of E Infant School

    St Gregorys CatholicPrimary School

    Lakeside School

    Norman Pannell School

    Mosscroft Community Primary School

    St. Edmund of Canterbury Catholic

    High School

    Rainhill St Anns C of E Primary School

    OakdenePrimary School

    Greenbelt Lake

    local connectivity

  • 1967 colliery plan, overlaid on current site

  • spatial catalogue for colliery gardens A catalogue of possible spatial and material interventions exploring ways of adjusting the ground level and the experience of moving through the gardens.

    colliery gardensgardens / interpretation / trails / seating / sheltersWithin the existing natural setting, appearing almost at random, we would recreate the footprints of the former colliery buildings as a sequence of sunken and raised gardens and terraces, arbors and pergolas interconnected by decked walkways. These become a framework for interpretive material dealing with the history of coal extraction, the lives of former miners, the pattern of shafts and tunnels beneath the site, the geology, native habitat and ecology of the area and, by extension, mans relation with nature: food and fuel; climate and geology.All these green follies become armatures for various kinds of planting and habitat, enriching the ecology of the locality, and together forming a kind of celestial observatory: a twenty-first century version of the beautiful 18th century Indian Jantar Mantar constructions

  • Habitat quality: The time invested in the evolution of habitats to date is recognised. Our proposals will continue to develop these, further enhancing diversity and promoting the already popular natural attractions of the site Visual quality: The mosaic of vegetation presents a variety of characters. Previous phases of site restoration are already successfully adding to a distinctive palette of ephemeral colouring. Management: We recognise a need to establish principles for the long-term objectives to guide the production of a Management Plan to ensure that the Crontons qualities are safeguarded and developed.

    Colonisation: The process of establishing natural vegetation from the unpromising start of the bare ground of the demolished colliery is also a story worth telling through interpretation and education as part of the visitor experience. These strands will influence the master plan. The existing wide, flat landform plateaux will be retained along with the existing woodland groups that define the spatial structure and frame distant views. In detail and where consistent with the habitat objectives, site levels can be refined to create varying soil conditions to promote further biodiversity.

    The patterns of circulation will be woven around the ecology, and also directed to protect more vulnerable habitats. This overall palette will be used to influence further planting of native trees, woodland, open grass, wetland and wildflowers, providing an adaptable, site responsive and cost-effective phased program based on the inherent economy of natural succession.Within this context the restoration strategy will allow planting of more ornamental species within the ghosted footprints of the former colliery buildings, evoking former uses of the place and adding variety and interest. These gardens will be subtly raised or sunk to create a sequence of spaces for gathering, contemplation and teaching. Barley, hops and a community orchard will take their place amongst the wild setting, with appropriate engineering of the soils to ensure their long-term viability.The proposed sustainable, low cost interventions, the existing landscape and the architectural interventions will coalesce into an experiential narrative that takes the user on a journey around the site.

    landscape designour approach embraces the landscape and ecology emerging from the previous phases of restoration. the existing vegetation is seen as a valuable resource that will be respected and enhanced.

  • events & activitiesSeasonal events articulate the year: a star gazing evening; autumn beer festival; vegetable competitions; live opera; screenings of up and coming film makers; and more.

  • types of gardensBlocks of planting and varying surface treatments, water

    pools and cascades, screens and planted enclosures echo the volumes and functions of the former colliery buildings.

  • green screen solar-powered cinema / viewing galleryA fully worked up proposal for a solar-powered cinema has been looking for a perfect site for a number of years and we consider Cronton to be that site. It is both a functioning outdoor cinema and a green folly that explores the poetic possibilities of a structure that breathes in light by day and exhales it by night.Modern digital projection techniques, combined with new high efficiency photovoltaic cell technology mean that a permanent, self-powered installation can have video remotely streamed to it from anywhere.The screen and amphitheatre seating would double as a setting for music and theatre performances, with performances broadcast rather than received.

  • 1. seating plateaus2. stairs to enter

    plateaus3. screen4. solar pannels5. panorama ter-

    race6. ramp to access

    terrace7. wall providing

    wind shelter and elements to at-tach temporary structures, like a pop up bar etc.

    8. projector shed

  • A vertical sandwich of landscape and industry, the green screen echoes former pithead structures but exploits renewable technologies to entertain and inform. Surplus power in winter is used to help heat and light the other new buildings on site.

  • At the heart of our proposal will be a new community building with views across the landscape that we have called Hill House. Hill House will be a place for voluntary and charity groups to come together and interact, a place where food is prepared and served, where ale is produced and drunk and an embarkation point for nature trails and cycle rides.Through our discussions with Knowsley Community and Voluntary Service, and exploratory meetings and discussions with charitable trusts and organisations in Knowsley and wider Merseyside, we have identified groups that are interested in using a space in Hill House as an outreach and/or day service location for their users. Bringing together various groups in one location presents a unique opportunity to facilitate interaction with groups of society that are currently excluded from one another. These groups will

    hugely benefit from the sensory aspects of the scheme.

    The main commercial space in Hill House will be a restaurant that will offer locally sourced and organic fare. This will be supported by an on-site brewery selling its own and other locally brewed beers, the brewing processes visible from the restaurant. The terraces and an observation tower will provide unprecedented views of the site and beyond. A simple telescope in the tower will track the moon.The third space will house all the administration and back of house functions, as well as providing additional meeting rooms for community and school groups and interpretive material about the design and technology of the project.

    hill housecommunity hall / restaurant / brewery / bar

  • 1. exhibition/workshop, adaptable space for education & community functions

    2. tower, with lift and stairs up to a lookout and lunar observatory

    3. entry4. brewery/restaurant5. bar/kitchen

    6. brewing area, mezzanine level above bar

    7. roof terrace dining8. administration9. restrooms10. planted roofscape11. stairs up to inhabitable roof terrace

  • hill houseA community centre and the heart of the Garden. A restaurant will offer locally sourced organic fare supported by an on-site brewery selling its own beers. The terraces and an observation tower will provide unprecedented views of the site and beyond. A telescope in the tower will track the moon.

  • hops & barley gardensHops and barley for brewing are both grown on site and imported. No area has a single use: the overspill parking area is strung with hops, apple trees line the entrance road.

  • oasthouseentrance Kiosk / oast house / farm shopThis small building will control the main entrance to the gardens, with parking and event ticketing, cycle hire, trail guides etc., a farm shop and a demonstration hop-drying facility where site-grown and imported hops are processed before being taken to the micro-brewery. The roof will also act as a dovecote and bat roost.

  • The buildings are orientated towards the south for optimal use of natural daylight.Operable windows and barn-like doors are easily slid open to allow for natural air circulation and cooling effect.Exposed concrete walls provide a thermal mass, reducing the indoor temperature fluxuation and energy needed to heat the spaces in the winter months.

    Greenroofs decrease stormwater runoff and increase thermal energy performance.A rainwater catchment system is integrated into the building roofs; the captured water is then used for watering the gardens.The toilets use greywater recycling system.Use of simple forms & materials reduce amount of material needed and construction costs. Native plants and local materials are utilized.Permeable paving is used for the road and parking to reduce stormwater runoff.Solar energy is captured by PV panels on the south facing side of the greenScreen, producing energy to power the projection and site lighting.

    sustainable features

    craft beersbrewed in the Hill House brewery

  • funding srategythe proposal puts community & voluntary involvement at the forefront of its success as a park and garden. the over-arching aim of our funding strategy is to maximize access to external funding to enable the long-term future of the site.Key funding methods that we have identified include: Grant Applications, Revenue Generation (sales), User Funding; and Cross Funding:

    Grant Applications - Funders are currently looking at projects that link environmental benefits to social benefits. Our proposals are well placed to access some of the newer funding streams from the Big Lottery Fund and existing streams, including the Heritage Lotterys Heritage Grants. Because our proposals focus on community involvement, education, interpretation and hard to reach groups, they are eligible for a number of public funded schemes including: Communities Living Sustainably (500k - 1million); Reaching Communities Fund (10k - 500k); Big Innovation Fund (20k - 1million); The Jubilee Peoples Millions (20k - 60k); and Social Access Fund (a pot of 20million is available).

    Revenue Generation we have calculated that the commercial elements of our proposal for Cronton Colliery would generate employment for up to 19 Full Time Equivalents. In addition there are a number of revenue generating elements within our proposals the restaurant/caf, the brewery as well as potential revenue from the theatre/cinema. These uses would cross fund non-revenue generating uses including the gardens, toilets, art features etc. As The Garden Of Earthly Delight is planned to be a visitor and tourism attraction, there are expected to be a range of products and merchandise on offer. A proportion of income from these products would go back into the long term maintenance and management of the site. Products would include those made on site (beer, food, plants, and craft goods); associated products locally sourced that fit in with the ideology of the site including foodstuffs, local crafts, sculptures etc; and merchandise as outlined above.

    Use Funding: The ideology behind Hill House and the Gardens makes the scheme ideal for use by a range of charitable trusts and organizations in Merseyside, as well as local authorities and educational establishments. For instance there are a number of charitable trusts in the region that, from our discussions with them, have requirements for day service locations for their members that could greatly benefit from the range of proposed uses. These service users pay daily rates to use such services. This could itself secure the long-term future of some elements of the proposal. Cross Funding: Our proposal purposefully leaves the lower plateau free from development. It is our understanding that this portion of the site could be sold for commercial development. Should this be so then funds generated for the Land Trust by the sale could be redirected to the site, or section 106 contributions could be secured for some/all of the works associated with our proposal. The over-arching aim of our funding strategy is to maximize access to external funding to enable the long-term future of the site.In preparing this strategy we have consulted with Knowsley Community and Voluntary Service (KCVS). We have also contacted other service providers including MECAP (Merseyside) and local representatives of The National Autistic Society and the National Alzheimers society. In developing our ideas for the project we have also had informal conversataions with BFI, The Coal Authority Archive, ROH2 at the Royal Opera House and the National Skills Academy

  • oval partnership architecture ltd2012


    Unit 20624-28 Hatton WallLondonEC1N 8JH

    Tel: +44 (0)20 8616 1766

    design team:the Oval partnershipBrock Carmichael ArchitectsWYG

  • the Oval Partnership