Ground engineering a £37m Theme Park on former opencast colliery site

A former opencast colliery site, Pithouse West, Rotherham, South Yorkshire, is set to be regenerated to enable the creation of Gulliver’s Valley, a £37m family theme park.

Clarkebond have been appointed to provide ground engineering services and to undertake a drainage strategy on this very challenging site, which is currently part of Rother Valley Country Park.

Both studies are complex as the site lies on a 98ha infilled opencast coal mine which is further underlain by mine shafts leading to deep coal mines.

There are further complications as it is believed the restoration backfill soils have not been engineered, leading to the potential for inundation collapse if water enters the soils in significant volumes, or if groundwater level rises. Such soils are also unlikely to provide sufficient support to permit normal shallow foundations on some of the proposed buildings.  The site also contains a landfill and has had problems with acid water quality.

“Our experience of engineering sites with quarries and complex underground structures for redevelopment will prove invaluable on this challenging scheme.  We look forward to seeing the project progress,” commented Associate Director, Ground Engineering, André Gilleard.

Planning permission has been granted for the new theme park which will include: an indoor water play zone, self-catering woodland lodges and treehouses, a  hotel, a NERF Zone, multi-use nature trails, indoor climbing centre, woodland adventure centre, outdoor gyms and an education and ecology centre including forest classrooms, woodland crafts and outdoor learning. Construction is planned to take place over 15 years in five phases.

Planning & development advice: County Planning
Architects and planning consultants: APC