Friends and family get sneak peak of Northumberlandia as work nears conclusion

August 10, 2012 | Community News

More than 300 people from across the north east have been given the chance to take a sneak peak at the region’s newest landmark.

Developers the Banks Group held a ‘friends and family’ event on the site of Northumberlandia to give their guests a close-up preview of the one hundred feet-high figure that sits on the Blagdon Estate, to the west of Cramlington.

And visitors to the event, who included local residents and community representatives as well as Banks staff and contractors, gave a universal thumbs up to what they saw – even those who’d been unsure about the project when it was first announced.

One couple commented that “We were rather sceptical about the whole thing, but it actually is going to be the biggest draw in the North East,” whilst another guest said “We didn’t approve when I first heard about it, but it can’t fail to impress – it’s spectacular, brilliant.”

The landform itself was described as “an amazing art sculpture that’s a great addition to the county,” and as being “very peaceful and graceful to walk around.”

Other comments highlighted the “fantastic, region-defining parkland,” the “very pleasant walks, at different gradients (that are) suitable for all abilities” and how there is “so much more to the project than meets the eye from the road.”

The Blagdon Estate and Banks are investing around £3m in the creation of the landform and adjacent water bodies, which form the centrepiece of a 47-acre public park being built on estate land that will be managed by The Land Trust as an amenity for the local community and an attraction for visitors to the region.

It has been designed to provide a lasting legacy for both the local area and the wider region, alongside the significant employment and economic contributions that is already made to them through the Banks’ Shotton Surface Mine, from which the material used to create the landform has been taken and without which the project could not have been developed.

Landscaping work on what is the world’s largest human landform is scheduled to be finished later this year, and when the park opens to the public, it will contain more than two and a half miles of surfaced paths and over one and a half miles of grass paths.

Northumberlandia alone is more than seven times the size of a football pitch, is taller than an eight-storey building at its highest point and takes more than 20 minutes to walk around.

Bob Downer, chief executive of Blagdon Estate, says: “Holding this event gave us a chance to share the work we’ve done to create Northumberlandia with the local community, as well as to test out how the infrastructure would be used by people visiting the site, and we’re thrilled at the excitement and enthusiasm generated by everything that our guests saw on site.

Katie Perkin, communications manager at the Banks Group, adds: “Northumberlandia was designed to provide a lasting legacy for the area, alongside the significant employment and economic contributions that we make through our Shotton Surface Mine.

“Part of this legacy will be through the increased number of visitors that the landform brings to both the local area and the wider north east, and the additional tourism revenues that this will undoubtedly bring to our region.

“The final elements of landscaping work are continuing, and we’re looking forward to opening the site up for use by both local people and visitors to the region when everything’s complete.”

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