Decision day due for Albany artwork after historic former pit wheel installation returned to Silksworth

Plans for a public ‘pit wheel artwork’ in a Washington suburb are set to go before councillors for decision next week.

By Chris Binding
Tuesday, 26th July 2022, 12:28 pm

In recent months, the artefact to Silksworth’s mining heritage has been mounted on a plinth which is visible from Silksworth Lane.

The previous pit wheel has now been removed and will be relocated to Silksworth, where it served the colliery between 1868 and 1971.

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As previously reported, a council meeting approved £17,500 towards the relocation - with the total cost estimated at £25,000 to £30,000 and the difference being met by community fundraising.

Councillors for Washington West, which includes Albany, previously said they were satisfied with the pit wheel being moved as long as there was a suitable replacement.

At a meeting of the council’s Planning and Highways Committee next week, councillors will be recommended to approve plans for a new pit wheel artwork in Albany.

This includes a pit wheel and steel supporting structure celebrating the area’s mining heritage.

The “replacement public realm artwork” is planned for a round paved area within the centre of the car park, where the previous pit wheel monument once stood.

According to a report prepared for decision-makers, the pit wheel proposed for installation is currently located at Washington F-Pit Museum and is “surplus to requirements”.

The pit wheel would measure 3.2 metres in width and would stand on the existing plinth at a maximum height of approximately 6.3 metres.

The Planning and Highways Committee report adds the plans “would not lead to any adverse impact to residential/visual amenity and would be acceptable in highway safety terms in compliance with national and local policies.”

Plans are part of a wider £4.6 million regeneration plan for the area, which will see improvements to the Washington F-Pit Museum, including a new visitor centre, and improvements to Albany Park.

A decision on the pit wheel artwork will be made by the Planning and Highways Committee on Monday, August 1, at City Hall.

The meeting is scheduled to start at 5.30pm and will be open to the public.