Northumberland College’s bespoke Equine Centre at Kirkley Hall has been shortlisted in the Commercial Development category at the Insider Media North East Property Awards. 

Part of a multi-million-pound regeneration project managed by real estate consultants Hollis, the recently completed Centre boasts an international-standard indoor arena to host equestrian events; a stable block, tack rooms, wash area, drying room, horse walker and show jumps available for hire to local riding clubs; as well as a livery service to support owners in managing their own horses. 

In addition to providing significant benefits to the local community, the construction of an education hub will allow the delivery of equine management skills such as farriery, dentistry and physiotherapy, further positioning the College as a centre of excellence for equine education and training. As an approved and highly commended British Horse Society (BHS) Training Centre, the facility will ensure students will develop their skills in a modern, industry-standard, careers-focused environment. 

Northumberland College’s Vice Principal (Quality & Curriculum) Lee Lister, said: “The new Indoor Equine Arena will, and already has, transformed the learning experience of the staff and students at Kirkley Hall.  

“The facility will provide the students with the space and the technical resources to develop their equitation skills and prepare them for industry. It will also benefit the local community as well as equine organisations and professionals as they utilise this exciting new space for events, riding lessons and other events.  

“We have already welcomed visitors from Belsay International Horse Trials, Chrissie Avis, advanced dressage riders and are hosting an Equine technical day using a range of new equipment to improve riding technique.” 

Paul Wharton, an Associate at Hollis Global, who are project managing the development, added: “This recognition of the Equine Facility at Kirkley Hall as one of the best commercial developments in our region is a testament to the hard work put in by all involved. 

“We are delighted to have delivered an outstanding facility for Education Partnership North East that will enhance Northumberland College’s reputation as a centre of excellence for equine education for years to come.” 

Louise Buckton, New Build Director at Newcastle-based ENGIE, said: “We are delighted to see that the Equine Centre at Kirkley Hall has been nominated for a Commercial Development of the Year Award by Insider Media. The centre has given students, and members of the community, the opportunity to learn more about equine care and participate in top-class events in modern surroundings. 

“The Equine Centre’s shortlisting is a testament to the hard work and dedication of everyone involved in the project, and hopefully that will be rewarded even further by winning the award in July.” 

Building work began at Kirkley Hall Campus last summer and includes a highly specialised 800 metre square SEND Centre over two floors which will house a sensory room, an innovative life skills zone to allow students to develop their independence, and an employability hub to support their progression. 

Major upgrades have also been made to the main building at Northumberland College’s Ashington Campus – a seven-story, 1950s-built tower block – to improve energy efficiency with new windows, a modern heating system, and a building management system to reduce maintenance. 

The project, which includes a digital academy, a health simulation ward and refurbished classrooms, was shortlisted for the Refit and Refurbishment and Commercial Development of the Year categories in the 2020 Property Awards, which recognise the region’s outstanding developments, schemes and deals from the last twelve months and skilled agents, developers, investors and other property professionals. 

The 2021 winners will be unveiled at a gala dinner on 8th July at the Hilton Newcastle Gateshead.

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