EXCLUSIVE: Details of £100m futuristic DEEP project revealed
By Laura Enfield | 13th October 2023
More details of the ground-breaking £100million DEEP project in the Forest Of Dean have been revealed.
It will see a 50-acre site known as Day House Quarry transformed into an underwater campus where experts will research how to "make humans aquatic".
It will feature state-of-the-art submersible equipment, accommodation for 60 people and leisure faciities to ensure students who train there can achieve their best.
DEEP, an ocean technology and exploration firm, has already begun work on site and has now published a plan showing how the futuristic project will look by the end of 2027.
The focus of the campus will be an 80-metre deep stretch of water known as Loch Lyr. It will be turned into a pool featuring dive zones, reefs, sampling zones and wrecks where students will be trained as undersea researchers.
DEEP said on its website: "DEEP Campus is the world's most capable facility from which to design, manufacture, assemble, trial and test subsea equipment, and to train the people who will use it."
The 600m long underwater space will be carefully controlled with fixed-rig and hand-held underwater, broadcast quality cameras, lights, and an on-shore live viewing gallery.
Next to the pool will sit a workshop and sub garage where the submersible vehicles will be stored and repaired ready for missions.
There will also be a campus command with "ops centre hyperbaric, simulation media and auditorium". The website also gives details of a wave tank, pressure pods, 3D printing lab, classrooms and briefing rooms.
The site was previously home to The National Diving & Activity Centre (NDAC), which closed in December 2021.
Rumours swirled about the DEEP project for months before it publicly announced its plans for the site in September 2023.
At the time Mike Shackleford, president of DEEP's global services, said that the mission was to trial a system so that humans "can live and work subsea".
It is developing the Sentinal modular system and is aiming to have it be the world's first subsea habitat to achieve third-party certification.
Mr Shackleford said the DEEP Campus would create job opportunities equating to 100 new roles in Gloucestershire and added: "We will need a tremendous amount of topside support, from marine officers to safety engineers and dive support, submersible technicians... ideally, these people will come from the local area."
Permission was granted By Forest Of Dean District Council earlier this year for portacabins to be installed on site as temporary accommodation and workspace for staff. The application said a masterplan for the site is expected to be submitted by the end of 2023.
DEEP's website states that enabling works are now complete and Phase 1 of the plan is due to be complete by the end of this year with the campus build-out finished by 2027.
The cabins will be replaced by permanent on-site accommodation for 60 people and the nearby DEEP-owned businesses The Abbey Hotel and The Wild Hare.
There will also be on-site woodland walks and cycleways, outdoor cooking facilities, cafe, gym, ice baths, yoga and a sauna to "help you take care of your body after a day's work".
On-site hospitality teams will provide daily changing menus of food to teams working at the campus, from "working lunches to event canapés and fine dining".
The campus will also feature connections to the local area with Tintern Tunnel- a footpath connecting the campus directly to Tintern village, a visitor centre and hirable event spaces.
DEEP said the design of the campus reflects "the strongly held DEEP faith in the importance of human performance, and the fundamental and far-reaching benefits of optimum physiological and psychological wellness."
- The rocks of the quarry were formed 340million years ago in the early Carboniferous Period.
- The quarry was created on the site of Coomsbury Wood which dates back to at least 1845 according to records.
- The excavated limestone pit was operated by T. S. Thomas Lydney Ltd. From the 1930s and was in use until the 1990s, served by the adjacent goods-only railway line.
- Following the closing of Tidenham station to passengers in 1959, the last train serving the quarry ran in September 1992.
- In 2005 the site was taken over by The National Diving & Activity Centre (NDAC), taking advantage of the crystal clear, freshwater lake that formed when the quarry pumps were turned off and is fed by local aquifers.
- Th centre closed in December 2021 and the site was bought by Day House Holdings Ltd.
- DEEP publicly announced its plans for the site in September 2023.
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