Regional value from landform

AS has been intended for a number of years, the Banks Group and Blagdon Estate have transferred the ownership of Northumberlandia to the Land Trust.

Together with Northumberland Wildlife Trust and Azure Charitable Enterprises, our role is to ensure that Northumberlandia benefits both local people and the wider region.

The Land Trust is a charity that ensures public spaces are managed for community benefit. Our charitable aims are to ensure that spaces such as Northumberlandia deliver social, economic and environment value in the long term.

The Banks Group and Blagdon Estate identified the trust at the early stages of the project exactly because they wanted such long term benefits to be delivered to the area; they have also provided a legacy fund which will help us achieve this.

Taking the environmental angle first. Yes, it is right that there are many fantastic nature reserves created on former industrial sites – the Land Trust owns and manages many such spaces.

It’s actually because of their former use that these spaces are so diverse and rich in wildlife and it’s only with careful long term management that these spaces become the natural havens that people enjoy.

The big difference between Northumberlandia and these reserves is that these spaces were restored once industrial activity was complete.

Northumberlandia has been created on additional land whilst operations are still under way.

This really is a break from the norm and it’s very much to the credit of Banks and Blagdon for doing this as it brings forward benefits to the area by at least ten years.

Furthermore, it should be noted that the land which is currently being mined will also be restored once operations are complete.

On all our spaces we take an ecologically informed approach to ensure the nature can thrive.

The appointment of the Wildlife Trust, who are expert at managing spaces for nature, is indicative of this and shows how importantly we are taking the environmental value of Northumberlandia.

However, the simple fact is that spaces take time to attract the habitats and species diversification that we hope will eventually make Northumberlandia their home.

We are actively putting these building blocks in place though to ensure that the site becomes a destination for both people and nature.

On to the economy. The park isn’t yet fully open and it’s already attracted tens of thousands of visitors.

Not to mention the vast amount of positive national media coverage that Cramlington and the north east has received.

Let’s also not underestimate the value of the mine itself in supporting employment in the area and the economic uplift that such a site can offer.

In order to make the benefits of the project as far reaching as possible we’ve been working with the tourism board for some time; they believe Northumberlandia will benefit the whole region.

We’ve also been talking to other tourism attractions in the county who are very keen to work with us to help make the site a world class destination.

We are beginning this process by holding a community opening event on October 20, which we will be using as a vehicle to showcase what the county has to offer – many of the region’s tourist attractions will be there.

There are credible and robust plans in place to ensure that both people and nature, from the local area and beyond, can enjoy Northumberlandia as a long term asset.

EUAN HALL

The Land Trust