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The Sill Discovery Centre

We assisted Northumberland National Park in creating The Sill: Landscape Discovery Centre.
The Sill building exterior at night, illuminated warmly from the inside

Location

Hexham, United Kingdom

Client

Northumberland National Park Authority​

Architect

​JDDK Ltd

The £14.8m project was granted planning permission in October 2014 and opened in July 2017. The Sill project is the UK’s first dedicated Landscape Discovery Centre. It is a hub for the local community and economy, hosting some 30,000 learning, participation and research activities throughout the year. This makes the centre a leading heritage education facility for landscape, conservation, countryside management, and leisure and tourism skills.

Given the sensitive environment in which the project sits – a UNESCO World Heritage Site featuring the Hadrian’s Wall corridor – a careful approach was needed to develop the right planning strategy, extensive public engagement and high levels of detail within the planning and EIA submission. Given its location within a Dark Sky Park, the lighting design work focused on meeting the requirements of the International Dark Sky Association. Several of these criteria required a reduction in obtrusive light, i.e., sky glow and a reduction in the visibility of the building at night.

Ian Cansfield, Director of Planning, commented, "This has been a fantastic project to be part of and we have relished the challenge of securing consent for this contemporary facility in a sensitive environment. Not only is this close to Hadrian’s Wall (part of the ‘Frontiers of the Roman Empire World Heritage Site’), part of the site is also designated as a Scheduled Ancient Monument and there are strict National Park planning rules to comply with."

Key fact

The UK’s first dedicated Landscape Discovery Centre

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Key fact

The Sill received a £7.8m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF)

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Ian Cansfield in a meeting room with glass window background wearing a blue suit and shirt

Ian Cansfield

Director, Planning and EIA

View bio

Cundall’s Planning and EIA team worked hard to get planning permission for the centre, along with the works carried out by our team of lighting specialists – a huge undertaking in itself.

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