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£1.5m heritage contract for building firm
A CONSTRUCTION company has bucked the industry's downturn to win a £1.54m North-East project for The National Trust.
North-East firm The Owen Pugh Group has begun work on the major project to carry out work to facilities at Gibside Estate near Rowlands Gill, Gateshead, which is hoped to improve the visitor experience.
The construction firm, which has its head office in Dudley, Northumberland, is a division of the group set up just 18 months ago.
Work will include the construction of two new purpose-built car parks, visitor centre and an elevated walkway through woodland connecting the new car parks to the estate.
The new development will allow the restoration of the four-acre historic walled garden to its former glory.
Before the works started, the land was being used as an overspill car park and the investment is a response to an increase in visitor numbers from 60,000 to 166,000 over the past decade.
The construction firm will utilise its design and project management capabilities as well as expertise within the group to carry out the works which are expected to take 26 weeks to complete.
In the coming weeks, a site compound will be established and the area will be cleared before the firm carry out the bulk earthworks.
Further work will include the installation of a gabion retaining wall and sustainable urban drainage system (SUDS) complete with attenuation tank, swales and wetland discharge to minimise the environmental impact of the scheme.
This will enable storm water to be stored, and will allow discharge to ground without connection to the existing drainage system. Improvements to the current car and coach park and new paving and resurfacing work will also take place and Lee Buchanan, project manager for Owen Pugh, will finalise the design and route of the elevated timber walkway working closely with the National Trust.
John Dickson, chairman of the Owen Pugh Group, said: "We're extremely pleased to have secured this prestigious project working alongside Gibside and National Trust.
"Over the past 18 months Owen Pugh Construction has quickly established itself as a leading main contractor due to our ability to utilise expertise from across the group and our commitment to delivering projects on time and within budget.
"During the course of this project, which will significantly enhance the visitor experience at one of the region's most well-known visitor attractions, we aim to further cement our reputation as a trusted partner on all kinds of civil engineering projects.
"We look forward to seeing the results of the National Trust's investment which will be a major boost for the North East tourism sector."
Phil Bolam, project manager for the National Trust, commented: "Following a very competitive tender process, we were delighted to appoint Owen Pugh Construction as the main contractor.
"National Trust was very impressed with the commitment and enthusiasm of the Owen Pugh team, helping to ensure that we get best value for our £1.54 million investment.
"I'm looking forward to working closely with Owen Pugh to deliver this fantastic project and bring great improvements to the historic Gibside Estate."