Lady of the North, Northumberlandia, has been named ‘Miss World’ after triumphing in a global competition.
The region’s newest tourism and cultural landmark has won the Best Landscape Architecture category in the 2013 International Property Awards, beating competition from across the globe including projects in Turkey, Malaysia and Mexico.
Northumberlandia, the world’s largest human landform, was developed by regional property and energy firm the Banks Group and the Blagdon Estate.
The landform cost around £3m and took two and a half years to construct using 1.5 million tonnes of stone, clay and soil from Banks’ adjacent Shotton Surface Mine.
Last year, more than 100,000 people visited the site, now managed by independent charity The Land Trust in association with the Northumberland Wildlife Trust and Azure Charitable Enterprises.
Work on the construction of a new visitor centre began in October, 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 early in the New Year.
Katie Perkin, communications manager at The Banks Group, said: “Winning this global award provides a wonderful finale to a fantastic first full year for Northumberlandia. The quality of the landform’s design and construction, and the cultural, community and tourism impact that she’s having have been widely recognised by both a range of awards and the tens of thousands of people who’ve already been to visit her.
“The projects against which Northumberlandia was competing for this award represent the very best in landscape architecture around the world, so this award is a real coup for both everyone involved with the project and North East England as a whole.
“Being in this sort of spotlight provides a great platform for the region, as well as for Northumberlandia herself, and we hope it will lead to even more visitors coming to the North East to take a look at everything that’s on offer here.”
Bob Downer, chief executive of Blagdon Estate, added: “Everyone involved in Northumberlandia is delighted to receive this international award to add to the regional and national prizes already awarded.
“Blagdon Estate is privileged to be part of this project which is now gaining recognition as a unique landscape and arts project as well as a gateway to the rest of Northumberland, while enhancing the leisure facilities available to the local community.”
Earlier this year, Northumberlandia won the Tourism and Leisure category of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors North East Renaissance Awards, which honour “projects that make an outstanding contribution to and demonstrable impact on tourism and leisure facilities in the region”.
The landform was also short-listed for the Excellence in Planning and Design for the Public Realm category of the national Royal Town Planning Institute Awards for Planning Excellence.
Northumberlandia qualified for the International Property Awards after winning its category at the 2013 UK Property Awards in October, and was competing against the winners of eight equivalent awards programmes representing Africa, Asia Pacific, Arabia, Canada, Caribbean, Central and South America, Europe and the US.
For further information on all aspects of the project, visit www.northumberlandia.com