Plans for new Whitburn Coastal Conservation Centre

An artist's impression shows the imagined interior of the planned new Whitburn Coastal Conservation Centre, with views towards Souter Lighthouse

The proposed new Whitburn Coastal Conservation Centre will offer more ways for people to make the most of their visit to the coast.

Designed by Newcastle based MawsonKerr Architects, the centre will be in Whitburn Coastal Park, not far from the lighthouse. 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.

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 focussing on heritage, wildlife and improvements to access.

" The addition of a fresh new visitor space at Souter is an exciting prospect. It will allow far more people to engage in activities and hands on experiences around nature and heritage than the lighthouse alone can accommodate. At the moment, the ranger team and Whitburn Coastal Conservation Group don’t have an indoor area to deliver events, so they’re looking forward to making good use of the centre. We want local residents and visitors to enjoy using it, for it to feel like a natural link between the lighthouse and the coastal park, a sort of stepping stone between a historic building and the outdoor environment. We hope that people will let us know their views on our draft proposals."
- Eric Wilton, General Manager, South of Tyne property group

The proposed centre will replace the current bird ringing hut in Souter’s main car park with a small, low carbon footprint energy efficient building that will sensitively blend with the surroundings. Plans were approved by South Tyneside Council in June 2020. If work goes to schedule, the building is expected to be completed and ready for use in early 2023.

You can view the plans here (PDF / 4.7939453125MB) download