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Northumberlandia gets under way

THE process of creating the world’s largest sculpted human form has officially started following a special turf-cutting ceremony on land to the west of Cramlington in the Northumberland countryside.

Around £2.5 million is being invested by The Banks Group and Blagdon Estate to create the unique Northumberlandia landform, which will form the centrepiece of a public park on land donated by the Estate.

Measuring 400m in length and up to 34m in height, Northumberlandia will be formed from 1.5 million tonnes of soil and clay taken from Banks’ nearby Shotton surface mine. It will be sculpted using bulldozers and excavators, with the work being undertaken by Banks employees from the Shotton site.

Northumberlandia’s designer, world-renowned artist Charles Jencks, Banks Group chairman Harry Banks and Matt Ridley from Blagdon Estate cut the turf on site to mark the official start of work on the project, which is expected to take around two years to complete.

Since the surface mine was given the go-ahead in 2008, The Banks Group and Blagdon Estate have been working closely with Charles Jencks to finalize the design for the landform park, which is due to be open to the public in 2013.

Mark Dowdall, environment and community director at The Banks Group, said: ‘This is a real milestone in the process of creating what we are confident will quickly become a widely recognized and acclaimed regional landmark.

‘Our plans have attracted great interest both from across the country and right around the world, and we are very satisfied to see the construction works start at Northumberlandia.

‘Northumberlandia will be part of the positive long-term legacy that the Shotton scheme was designed to leave, and we firmly believe that it will complement and enhance north-east England’s existing cultural offering, attracting increasing numbers of visitors to Cramlington and the surrounding area for many years to come.’


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