Northumberlandia named as the place to be in latest awards success

January 31, 2014 | Brenkley News

Northumberlandia has added yet another award to her bulging trophy cabinet after being honoured in a national initiative that highlights the positive impact that development projects make on their locations.

After being chosen as the world’s Best Landscape Architecture in the 2013 International Property Awards, the North East’s newest tourism and cultural landmark has now triumphed at The 2014 Placemaking Awards, which aim to ‘recognise and publicise projects, plans, people and organisations that are making places better.’

The development of The Lady Of The North by regional property and energy firm the Banks Group and the Blagdon Estate was chosen as the winner of the Awards’ best use of arts, culture or sport in place-making category, beating three projects from across London and other rivals in Manchester, Colwyn Bay and Southend-On-Sea to the title.

The Award was presented to the project team at an event held at The British Museum in London.

Backed by the development industry’s leading publications, the Placemaking Awards are open to individuals and organisations in planning, regeneration, economic development, urban design, sustainable development and community development operating anywhere in the UK.

Northumberlandia’s category aimed to identify a project or plan that is using arts, culture or sport to ‘demonstrably improve the physical or environmental quality of a place or the economic or social well-being of a community,’ with entries needing to show how they are creating excellent prospects of such improvement and increasing participation among local residents.

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 is now managed by independent charity The Land Trust for the benefit of local communities and the wider regionin association with the Northumberland Wildlife Trust and Azure Charitable Enterprises, and has proved extremely popular with both local residents and visitors to the region, with over 100,000 people visiting the site during her first year.

A new visitor centre which has been funded through contributions totalling £242,000 from the Banks Community Fund and Defra’s Regional Economy Grant will be opening in the near future.

Katie Perkin, communications manager at The Banks Group, says: “The positive impact that Northumberlandia would have on both the surrounding area and the wider region was very high on our priority list when the project was being developed, and it’s fantastic to now have our achievement of this objective recognised independently through this latest award.

“Northumberlandia works on many different levels, from being the centre of a significant leisure resource that is well used by local people to providing a new cultural icon for the North East that is bringing in visitors from far and wide.

“As with all her previous awards success, this kind of recognition bring benefits for the region as a whole as well as specifically for The Lady herself, and we expect her to continue to be immensely popular with both local people and tourists, especially after the opening of the new visitor centre.”

Bob Downer, chief executive of Blagdon Estate, adds: “Northumberlandia has surpassed our original hopes, and it is gratifying that she is now being recognised by so many other people and organisations as something very special.”

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