Artwork wins top award for planning

RTPI national president Colin Haylock; Bob Downer, chief executive of the Blagdon Estate; Philip Baker, planning director at The Banks Group, Joe Ridgeon, regional chair of the RTPI; and Mark Simmons, landscape architect at Banks.
RTPI national president Colin Haylock; Bob Downer, chief executive of the Blagdon Estate; Philip Baker, planning director at The Banks Group, Joe Ridgeon, regional chair of the RTPI; and Mark Simmons, landscape architect at Banks.
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A UNIQUE landform sculpture has picked up a top planning award.

The quality of the planning and design work done to create the north east’s newest landmark – Northumberlandia – has been recognised by the regional arm of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI).

The development of Northumberlandia by the Blagdon Estate and regional mining firm the Banks Group was named as the best example of Planning in a Rural Area at the RTPI North East’s annual awards.

The RTPI’s national President, Colin Haylock, visited the sculpture near Cramlington, to see what is the world’s largest human landform for himself and to present the project planning team with their award.

The judging panel, which was comprised of planning experts from across the region, highlighted in their citation how Northumberlandia ‘represents recognition from the Banks Group that the restoration and landscaping proposals for the Shotton site needed to be exceptional in order to provide much needed economic, social and environmental benefits to South East Northumberland, and meet Green Belt objectives.’

Philip Baker, planning director at the Banks Group, said: “Northumberlandia was a very ambitious and challenging project, and her realisation and this subsequent award are a real testament to the unmatched levels of dedication and technical excellence shown by all of the team involved in her creation.

“Banks consistently delivers a wide range of tangible benefits across all the communities in which we work, but with Northumberlandia, we were looking to create something unique that would stand out both regionally and nationally, and believe this award is further recognition that we are achieving this goal.

“Taking a ‘restoration first’ approach to this project meant that the local community has been able to enjoy the benefits much more quickly that if we’d waited until production had finished at Shotton, and the speed with which Northumberlandia has become an accepted and popular part of the north east landscape suggests our approach was well chosen.”