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Northern Developments (Cumbria) announced as Finalist for the National Building & Construction Awards 2020!


As a Regional Design & Build Developer, based in Carlisle, we were delighted to be announced as a finalist in the National Building & Construction Awards 2020, in the £10M-£25M Category for the M-Sport Evaluation Centre (MEC) project at Dovenby near Cockermouth for M-Sport Limited.


Northern Developments’ projects are primarily our own schemes across industrial, commercial, residential and purpose built student accommodation (PBSA); the only exception being our long term relationship with M-Sport, for whom we have carried out all developments on their Dovenby Hall Estate site, since it was procured in 1998.


Northern Developments are a regional and very professional team, initially established in 1985 then working throughout the UK as Main Contractor; around the start of the new millennium becoming Developer / Contractor. Proud of our Cumbria roots we have, over those 35 years, completed several high-profile projects including multiple PBSA schemes exceeding £50million. We normally design “in-house” architecturally and usually only use external consultants for engineering, M&E, acoustics and specialist services.


The MEC project combines large civils & external works alongside high-quality high-tech design and build all within the setting of a Grade II listed building, delivered to the highest standards in a relatively short time frame.


The MEC will provide M Sport with the ability to further expand into the wider automotive R&D sector. Northern Developments managed the construction of the existing site facility back in 1999, and it was not long before M Sport were looking to expand further. The new building is more than twice the size of their existing production facilities, providing significant expansion and creating over 100 new jobs in the process.


The first phase of the project, now complete, comprised the design and construction of a 2.5km test track.  The civils works to facilitate this involved moving 200,000 Tonnes of earth, whilst ensuring a cut and fill balance to ensure that no materials needed to be removed from site. Ground stabilisation techniques were employed to mitigate import of excessive quarried materials. 6.5km of drainage to the track links to several balancing ponds to ensure no negative impact on the local watercourse. An approved scheme of woodland management was deployed at the outset, protecting certain areas of historic interest, with planting of trees and grassland to enhance the habitat across the site.


We have worked in deep collaboration with the client for ten years now, to ensure that we deliver a solution to meet their business needs. At the early stages this involved the building element of the project evolving in numerous forms and growing significantly. Drawing on our experience and knowledge combined with our supply chain we were able to deliver significant value engineering solutions, whilst still meeting the business needs.


The groundworks for the 111,000ft2 production facility commenced in May 2019, and construction is now well underway, within six months of commencement over  550T of structural steelwork had been manufactured and erected, roofing complete, all external precast concrete walls installed, and a significant amount of high level M&E works commenced. The next significant milestone being in the installation of the specialist concrete slab.

Our client Malcolm Wilson OBE, Managing Director at M-Sport, said “It’s always been important for me to keep the business in Cumbria, and with the help of Cumbria LEP we’re seeing the growth of more and more businesses in our region. The M-Sport Evaluation Centre will provide a unique centre of engineering excellence – allowing world leaders in automotive technology to follow their concepts from design and development, right through to production. Our region is fast becoming a great place for business, and we’re proud to be a part of that.”

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