Artist in region to view Northumberlandia’s progress

October 19, 2010 | Community News

The artist behind the design for the world’s largest sculpted human form has been in the north east to view the progress being made with his creation.

Charles Jencks visited the site of the unique Northumberlandia landform to discuss the next stages in the project’s development and to see how his initial designs are being realised.

Work on creating the landform, which is being built on land currently owned by the Blagdon Estate to the west of Cramlington, has now been ongoing for six months.

The shape of the figure is now beginning to emerge from the landscape, and the visitor car park has also been constructed.

Four hundred metres long and up to 34 metres high, Northumberlandia is being formed from around 1.5 million tonnes of soil and clay taken from the nearby Shotton surface mine, which is being operated by regional developer The Banks Group.

Banks and Blagdon Estate are investing around £2.5m in the creation of the Northumberlandia landform, which will form the centrepiece of a public park being built on land which will be donated by the estate.

It is being created using bulldozers and excavators, with the work being undertaken by Banks employees from the Shotton site.

More than 700,000 tonnes of material has already been brought across from the mine, with the remainder scheduled to be transported before the end of the year.

Landscaping, infrastructure, ‘greening’ and other development work will then continue over the next 18 months, in advance of the park officially opening to the public in 2013.

Mark Dowdall, environment and community director at The Banks Group, adds: “Our team has made excellent progress on the project over the last few months and we’re starting to see Northumberlandia’s shape become visible in the landscape.

“There’s obviously a great deal of work still to do, but seeing this sort of visible progress is extremely encouraging to everyone involved and begins to help set the overall shape of the landform in context with its environment.

“Northumberlandia and the surrounding park will be a wonderful place for local people to enjoy, and will also add significantly to the regional economy through increasing the numbers of visitors that come to the area.

 “This artwork could not exist without the adjacent mining operation, which employs a growing workforce of 140 people directly on site, as well as injecting over £15m directly into the regional economy every year, and it will be the central part of the positive long-term legacy that the Shotton scheme was designed to leave for the local community.”

Bob Downer, chief executive at Blagdon Estate, says: “Blagdon Estate is very pleased to be able to contribute towards this project, which will be a work of art which people can actually walk on. Blagdon has taken an active role in the local community for well over 250 years and we believe that Northumberlandia will become a major benefit to south east Northumberland in the future.

“We are extremely fortunate to have this opportunity which would not have been possible without the vision of the estate owners and the hard work and enthusiasm of everyone at the Banks Group. The on-site construction team are having to solve a totally unique set of problems to achieve the final article and are doing so with a great deal of skill.

“We look forward to welcoming the public to the park in 2013 to enjoy a truly remarkable piece of art.”

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