'Thumbs up’ for £4.6million F-Pit Museum and Albany Park plans in Washington

Plans to develop Washington’s Grade II listed F-Pit Museum and Albany Park have been approved by residents after a public consultation.

In December 2020 it was announced that the park and museum were to undergo a £4.6 million revamp. The F-Pit Engine House, tells the region’s mining history and its importance.

Essential repair works at the museum were completed in February. Sunderland City Council asked residents and visitors to share their views on the project’s next stage.

The consultation received 128 responses, mainly from Washington residents. The council says strong support was shown for planned improvements to the park, and developing the museum with a new visitor centre and cafe.

The F-Pit Museum in Washington. picture by Elliot Nichol.

Residents want improvements to the natural environment and safety of Albany Park through more greenery and landscape features.

Security measures are wanted too, such as CCTV, new lighting and addressing issues of anti-social behaviour including unauthorised access by motorbikes or quad bikes.

Facilities and activities for young people and families are also sought after. Suggestions include a secure play park with a range of equipment, family fun days, craft-based activities, sports courts, a skate park, bicycle tracks, cafe and gift shop, with toilets and baby changing facilities.

Residents also felt that local people, particularly ex-miners, could promote the history of the site and wider Washington area through tours and talks about life working in the pit, mining communities, disasters and accidents and significant local people and families of Washington.

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Cllr Linda Williams represents the Washington Central ward Picture by Elliot Nichol.

They also felt the heritage visitor centre should include physical artefacts and interactive displays for educational opportunities.

Cllr Linda Williams is cabinet member for vibrant city and represents the Washington Central ward.

She said: “The F-Pit is an important landmark in Washington and we want to enhance its cultural offering in order for it to be a great place to visit for years to come.

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“It’s great to see so many residents are just as passionate about F-Pit and Albany Park as we are about protecting and improving the future of this fantastic site by regenerating the museum itself, as well as the surrounding park. I look forward to seeing the plans come to fruition.”

The council say their proposals will consider the feedback. There will be further consultation with residents and businesses over the next year, as more detailed plans emerge.

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