Two of Northumberland’s community-led building schemes have scooped top industry awards.
A new state-of-the-art training facility at Wansbeck General Hospital and the transformation of 18th century Walwick Hall on Hadrian’s Wall into a country house hotel picked up prizes at last night’s 2017 RICS Awards, North East.
More than 50 of the region’s most impressive and community beneficial property schemes battled it out for top honours at the ceremony held at the Civic Centre in Newcastle.
The annual awards celebrate inspirational initiatives in the region’s land, property and construction sectors.
The One Show TV presenter Angellica Bell was the host for this year’s sell-out ceremony, which attracted more than 300 local property professionals.
Wansbeck’s new training facility, known as DASH (Dinwoodie Assessment and Simulation Hub) won the Infrastructure accolade.
The £300,000 centre, which opened last November, allows medical professionals to carry out their training using mannequins in a real life-like ward, while an on-site control centre allows assessors to monitor their progress first-hand over the two four-bed wards.
RICS judges praised the project team – designed by ADP Architecture and delivered by Robertson Construction and Turner & Townsend – for creating an unforgettable learning experience, which is the largest facility of its kind in the region.
The transformation of Walwick Hall, an 18th century Grade II-listed building at Humshaugh, near Hexham, into Walwick Hall Hotel, a luxury boutique country hotel complete with a swimming pool and Elemis Spa, won the Building Conservation accolade.
Designed by Doonan Architects Ltd and delivered by DP Builders, the judges said the project team’s collaborative approach has ensured all of the building’s existing historical fabric and features were restored and retained and the overall refurbishment is modern and of an exceptional standard.
The judges said it is this approach that has led to the creation of an exemplary hotel – which opened towards the end of last year – with individual stylish rooms and the elegance of an English country retreat yet with an inviting contemporary twist.
The winners of all eight individual categories were:
Building Conservation: Walwick Hall Hotel, Hexham. Segedunum at Wallsend, and the visitor facilities at the National Trust’s Wallington Hall were among those shortlisted.
Commercial: Feethams Leisure, Darlington
Community Benefit: The Word, South Shields. Holy Island village hall was on the shortlist.
Design through Innovation: The Word, South Shields
Infrastructure: Dinwoodie Assessment & Simulation Hub, Ashington
Regeneration: Freeman’s Reach, Durham. Also shortlisted was the development of Morpeth town centre.
Residential: Staiths South Bank, Gateshead. The Cheviots, Ashington, and Windsor View, Newbiggin-by-the-Sea, were shortlisted.
Tourism & Leisure: The Word, South Shields. The shortlist also included Lucker Hall at Belford, The Commissioners Quay Inn at Blyth, and the visitor facilities at Wallington Hall.
The chairman of the judging panel for the RICS Awards, North East, Adam Serfontein, managing director at The Hanro Group, said: “These exemplary schemes are already having a positive impact on their local communities and are actively helping to ensure the North East is one of the most vibrant region’s to live, work and visit.
“The teams behind them are testament to the fact that the North East has some of the most remarkable, skilled property professionals and surveyors, who together, are attracting significant investment into the North East and helping the region to prosper.”
All category winners will go on to compete against other regional winners at the national RICS Awards Grand Final on November 2, in London, for the chance to be crowned the overall UK winner in their respective category.