October 23, 2013 | Brenkley News
The story of the North East’s newest tourism and cultural landmark is set to be told internationally after it was doubly honoured in a prestigious property industry awards initiative.
The development of Northumberlandia, the world’s largest human landform, by regional property and energy firm the Banks Group and the Blagdon Estate, was chosen as the winner of the Best Landscape Architecture category for the North East in the 2013 UK Property Awards, before going on to be named as the overall category winner.
The unique landform will now go on to represent the UK in the 2013 International Final ‘World’s Best’ Property Awards, which take place in at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London in December, and which will bring together the winners of eight equivalent awards’ programmes from right around the world.
Now in their 20th year, the International Property Awards celebrate the highest levels of achievement by companies operating in all sectors of the commercial and residential property industry, and are split into regions covering Africa, Asia Pacific, Arabia, Canada, Caribbean, Central & South America, Europe and the US, as well as the UK.
Blagdon and Banks wholly funded Northumberlandia’s creation, investing around £3m in the project and taking two and a half years to construct the landform using 1.5 million tonnes of carefully selected stone, clay and soil from Banks’ adjacent Shotton Surface Mine.
Northumberlandia, which is now managed by independent charity The Land Trust in association with the Northumberland Wildlife Trust and Azure Charitable Enterprises, has proved extremely popular with both local residents and visitors to the region, with more than 100,000 people visiting the site over the last year.
Work on the construction of a new visitor centre began recently after The Land Trust secured funding totalling £242,000 from the Banks Community Fund and Defra’s Regional Economy Grant, and it is expected to open by the end of November.
Katie Perkin, communications manager at The Banks Group, says: “There’s been a lot of international interest in Northumberlandia over the last couple of years, and to now be put forward to represent the UK against the world’s best new landscape architecture projects shows quality of the design and construction of the project.
“Being in this sort of spotlight provides a great platform for North East England as a whole, as well as for Northumberlandia herself, and we hope it will lead to even more international visitors coming to the region to take a look at what’s on offer here.”
Bob Downer, chief executive of Blagdon Estate, adds: “Blagdon Estate has been privileged to be able to work with the Banks Group to create this remarkable project, which provides both a lasting legacy for the local community and a gateway to Northumberland, attracting visitors from around the world.
“We are delighted at the success of the development over the first year, and look forward to the exciting future Northumberlandia has ahead.”
Earlier this year, Northumberlandia was chosen as the winner of the Tourism & Leisure category of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) North East Renaissance Awards, which honour “projects that make an outstanding contribution to and demonstrable impact on tourism and leisure facilities in the region,” and she was also shortlisted for the Excellence in Planning & Design for the Public Realm category of the national Royal Town Planning Institute Awards for Planning Excellence.
For further information on all aspects of the project, please visit www.northumberlandia.com