New Ray Lonsdale ‘heritage locomotive’ artwork approved for Hetton Lyons Country Park

Plans for public artwork paying tribute to Sunderland’s mining and rail heritage have been given the green light.

Monday, 20th December 2021, 5:05 pm

Plans were lodged with Sunderland City Council’s planning department in October for Hetton Lyons Country Park for a new ‘heritage locomotive artwork’ manufactured from Corten weathering steel and designed by Ray Lonsdale, the artist behind Seaham’s Tommy statue.

The application from the Friends of Hetton Lyons Country Park is part of plans to commemorate the 200-year anniversary of Hetton Colliery Railway next year.

A number of activities and events are planned in 2022 as part of a city-wide celebration of Hetton Colliery and the famous railway line, which was engineered by George Stephenson and used to transport coal.

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Hetton Lyons Country Park

After considering the planning application, Sunderland City Council’s planning department approved it on Wednesday, December 15.

A decision report prepared by planners reads: “The artwork would be installed adjacent to a well-used footpath within the public park and would provide a visual reminder of the area’s mining and rail heritage.

“It is considered that the character and appearance of the proposed artwork would be of a design, scale and massing which would be appropriate within, and complementary to, the park setting.”

The report goes on to say: “The applicant has confirmed that the artwork will consist of two identical locomotive and tender images, three metres high, five metres in length and with a 300mm gap in between.

Artist Ray Lonsdale.

“The artwork will be mounted on steel posts and sit on a concrete base.

“With regard to colour the artwork will be similar in appearance to the mining statue in Hetton, Tommy at Seaham and the Vaux Dray sculpture commissioned by Sunderland City Council.”

A statement from the Friends of Hetton Lyons Country Park in the planning application also sets out the planned next steps for the heritage locomotive artwork.

It reads: “The Friends of Hetton Lyons Country Park have funding agreed for this project which will form part of a city-wide celebration of Hetton Colliery and the famous Stephenson Railway from Hetton to the staiths in Sunderland.

“The artwork will be visible to country park visitors and those following the Stephenson Trail.

“Once completed the artwork will be adopted by Sunderland City Council.”

For more information on the artwork, visit Sunderland City Council’s online planning portal and search reference: 21/02417/FUL

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