Estates UPDATES The Staff Newsletter of The Northumberland Estates
Issue 1 – May 2013
Our Inaugural Edition A newsletter for staff, by staff
Alnwick Castle reopens A Family Affair... Page 8
PLUS Bloomin’ Marvellous! Page 3 • Newburn Culvert Completion Page 5 • Education News Page 7 Ratcheugh Obvservatory Opening Day Page 5 • Alnwick Castle - A Family Affair Page 8
Welcome to the new
ESTATES UPDATES the staff newsletter of The Northumberland Estates
Estates Updates is a new publication at The Northumberland Estates and, in recognition of how the business has changed over the years, as part of a decision to create a new suite of publications for The Northumberland Estates.
The Northumberland News is, like Estates Updates, a new publication and the contents are tailored to provide information to our commercial tenants. This side of The Northumberland Estates has grown significantly in recent years and, we have over 350 commercial tenants across the UK and Europe.
The re-designed Percy News provides news, views and updates from the traditional Estate and sent to residential and agricultural tenants, as well as members of our community in Alnwick, Syon and Albury.
Ensuring that we have effective ways of communicating with staff at The Northumberland Estates is the final piece of the jigsaw and Estates Updates will be produced for staff, by staff.
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Estates Updates will be a newsletter with a difference. Unlike the Percy and Northumberland News, our staff newsletter will be available entirely electronically. This concept will allow us to provide staff with not only articles they will find interesting but we will be able to share videos and other interactive content via Estates Updates in the future. Contributions from staff to Estates Updates are always welcome and, if you would like to take part, please contact email@example.com
Bloomin’ Marvellous! It has been a long winter in Northumberland for gardeners and farmers who are all waiting for the spring to arrive, and with it a bit of warmth. The cold has had a dramatic effect on the garden where there has been no growth to speak of. Plants are still dormant and buds are only just starting to swell.
I would estimate that the garden is approximately five weeks behind but have every confidence that it will catch up eventually. The garden team planted fifty thousand daffodil bulbs in the autumn with the intention that children could pick twenty daffodils each, free of charge, to give to their mothers on Mothering Sunday tied with a ribbon and gift tag, however with the cold soil conditions there was no sign of a daffodil flower let alone the emergence of any foliage so we resorted to plan B which was to offer the same opportunity on Easter Sunday. This did not go to plan either so we have now had to resort to plan Z which is to allow children to pick their daffodils when they are in flower, which might be at the
Get ready to
start of the summer holidays if this cold spring continues!
It’s not just the daffs that are behind. Our annual cherry blossom festival was a cherry blossom festival without any cherry blossom this year. Our three hundred and fifty Taihaku cherry trees are refusing to show any signs of budding up and our five hundred thousand tulips which should provide a pink carpet underneath the white blossom are only just starting to push through the soil. This unique show should be in full flower at the end of April but not this year. Not everything is at a standstill within the garden as nature takes its course. Last year we cleaned out the old duck pond at the foot of the cherry orchard and in late March introduced a Japanese pagoda style duck house along with six pairs of Mandarin ducks. The male ducks are extremely showy and look quite exotic. The Mandarins took to their new home “like ducks to water” and have already paired up to do what ducks do in the spring, not in the privacy of their new home but anywhere they can, much to the amusement of visitors so despite the cold we should have ducklings in a few weeks. The gardening team continue their work with school children in the Roots and
The Northumberland Estates are one of the largest employers in Northumberland and, as a diverse business with staff around the country, we have been exploring ways to enhance staff communication for all. Many staff work different hours from a variety of locations (and not always in an office!) and we have been reviewing the best ways to ensure that all staff have the opportunity to share information and keep up to date with the latest information at the Estates.
We have decided to use a service called Yammer as the main method of helping staff to communicate and this is currently being tested at the Estates. Yammer is a corporate network that enables individual staff and teams to share information,
Shoots garden. This year we are working with nine schools who select twenty pupils between the ages of seven to eleven to take part in a healthy eating and growing programme. Each school visits four times during the growing season to learn how to grow vegetables from seed by sowing in trays then pricking out and planting out their seedlings until their final visit when the children harvest their own vegetables grown in their own allotment style plots and eat a vegetable broth made from their own vegetables. It always amazes me to see the expressions on a child’s face as they dig up a mass of foliage to find a huge carrot on the end. Many of these children have no idea where their food comes from let alone that carrots grow in the soil! By gardening with children and capturing their interest and imagination at an early age I like to think that you nurture them to make gardeners of the future. One of them could even be after my job in ten years time, you never know!
collaborate and update others on their activity. The service will be available online, via your desktop computer and also on mobile devices and this will ensure that all staff have the opportunity to take part, no matter where they are located. We hope to be switch on Yammer by the Summer of 2013. Estates Updates Page 3
Snapshot The Alnwick Garden
13th and 21st May 2013 Elderberries foot care sessions to give your feet a little TLC
Find out more at www.alnwickgarden.com today!
5th May 2013 Cooking Up A Storm Taster is a 1-day taster cookery course at Jamie’s Ministry of Food 2nd, 9th, 16th, 23rd, 30th June and 7th July 2013 Sunday afternoon lectures at 3pm in the Northumberland Room at Syon House
8th May 2013 Boys In The Kitchen is an 8 week cookery course for adults that promises to take your tastebuds on a journey around the world! 12th May Family Cooking with relaxed evening sessions that are perfect for families learning to cook together.
Syon Park 5th and 6th May 2013 Children go free! 12th May 2013 The Brentford Football Club ISIS Challenge Fun Run is a 5k or 1k fun run in Syon Park
10th June - 7th July 2013 Archaeology at Syon Park is a community dig and training excavation
Find out more at www.syonpark. co.uk today!
26th and 27th May 2013 Children go free!
Greensfield Development Planned for Alnwick The Northumberland Estates are delighted to announce plans for a much needed residential development at Greensfield, to the South of Alnwick. The Northumberland Estates recognises that demand for high quality housing is a key factor in the future economic growth of Alnwick and planning permission will be sought for the 225 home development. Alnwick is a vibrant market town and regarded as a highly desirable place to live. The Greensfield development is adjacent to existing amenities, including Willowburn Leisure Centre and the Willowburn Retail Park. Page 4 Estates Updates
This will help to both stimulate economic development in the town and provide affordable homes for young people, larger family housing and accessible homes for the elderly. Colin Barnes, Director of Planning and Development at The Northumberland Estates, said:
“We are delighted to announce our plans for the proposed Greensfield development as this will meet the need for high quality and affordable housing in Alnwick and stimulate the economy of the town.
The development has easy access to both Alnwick town centre and local amenities and we anticipate significant demand for these homes.” Also, The Northumberland Estates has offered a section of land at Greensfield tas a potential location for the exciting and much needed proposed re-build of the Duchess’s High School.
Newburn Culvert Completion We are pleased to announce the completion of major repair works to the collapsed culvert on our land in Newburn, Newcastle upon Tyne. It was confirmed that water could flow through our fully rehabilitated culvert on the 15th April 2013. The total rehabilitation of the culvert on our land has represented a significant engineering challenge and this has been achieved at an investment of over £10 million by The Northumberland Estates. The repair resulted in the creation of a brand new section of ‘pipe jacked’ culvert in the collapse zone. The contractors working on behalf of The Northumberland Estates were also instructed to create a brand new concrete structure over the complete length of the non-collapsed culvert on our land.
The repair and additional work included: • sinking a 10.5 metre wide by 12.5 metre deep concrete shaft to facilitate access to the collapse zone • pouring and injecting 140 tonnes of high-tech ‘grout’ in the collapse zone to stabilise the ground and create a safe working environment to enable the repair to take place • excavating by hand 300 tonnes of displaced soil as a result of the collapse • spraying 220 tonnes of concrete over a length of 125 metres of existing culvert to create a brand new structure and culvert on our land • ‘pipe jacking’ 8.3 metres of 2.1 metre diameter concrete pipe to replace the catastrophic damage to the culvert in the collapse zone • over 42,000 hours worked onsite throughout the repair process
Although the cause of the collapse is unknown and The Northumberland Estates are unable to accept responsibility for the collapse or any consequential damage, we have nevertheless worked tirelessly and invested significant resources to enable the repair to take place as soon as possible. The Northumberland Estates has worked closely with Newcastle City Council, Dunelm Homes and Trinity Estates throughout the rehabilitation project and, as work to enable residents to return to their homes in Spencer Court and Hareside Walk continues, we intend to have an active presence in Newburn until this is achieved.
Ratcheugh Obvservatory Opening day
Ratcheugh Observatory is an impressive 18th century folly that was designed by Robert Adam around 1784 and built by John Bell in memory of the first Duchess of Northumberland. The centrepiece of the Observatory, located 2 miles from Alnwick on Ratcheugh crag, is the first floor viewing platform that offers spectacular views of the Aln Valley and Northumberland Coast. Opportunities to experience this unique space are rare and we are delighted to confirm the Observatory will be open to
the public for one day only on Sunday 7th July 2013. The opening has been arranged by the Alnwick Lions to support the excellent work of the Alnwick Stroke Club and the Estates are delighted to support this fantastic cause. Graham Luke, Fire Advisor at The Northumberland Estates, said: “Alnwick Stroke Club is entirely self-funded and this opening event gives us the opportunity to generate much-needed funds. The views from the Observatory are second to none and we are sure that visitors will have a fantastic experience on the day. Alnwick
Lions wishes to thank His Grace for allowing the Observatory to be opened for this exceptionally good cause.” The Opening Day will take place from 10AM until 4PM on Sunday 7th July 2013 and, as all contributions will be donated to Alnwick Lions and the Alnwick Stroke Club, we hope that lots of local residents will take up this rare opportunity.
To find out more about the Ratcheugh Observatory Opening Day and the Alnwick Lions, please visit www.alnwicklions.org.uk Estates Updates Page 5
Teaching Trees success at Hulne Park
An exciting new website for The Northumberland Estates is currently in development and this will provide customers, tenants and visitors a high quality online experience. The Northumberland Estates are in the process of developing our online presence and, with the help of Ayo Digital, our new website will offer a number of benefits to potential and existing tenants. Ayo Digital is one of the UK’s leading suppliers of webbased software and applied technology solutions. Based at the Baltic Design Quarter in Gateshead, they provided innovative solutions to our website brief.
The Northumberland Estates are pleased to support Teaching Trees a division of the Royal Forestry Society that creates a classroom in the woods. The aim of Teaching Trees is to encourage teachers to bring children of all ages into managed woods and over 500 children from schools in Northumberland accessed have accessed Hulne Park to learn more about nature since September 2012. Peter Lowes, Education Officer for Teaching Trees in Northumberland, said: “The aim of the Teaching Trees project is to encourage teachers to bring children of all ages into the woods as the woodland environment provides many opportunities for learning across the range of the National Curriculum. By kind permission of His Grace and The Northumberland Estates, we seek to introduce schools to woods in their vicinity.”
• Brand new property search, including the ability to search by location, property size and use • Improved design that allows visitors to find the information they are looking for quickly and easily
The Alnwick Enterprise Hub will see the creation of 12 small, flexible units on the Cawledge Business Park near the town following confirmation of the grant by the network’s steering group.
• High quality images that improves the experience when visiting the website
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Teaching Trees would also like to thank Clint Johnson and the team at the Hulne Park sawmill for their support and valuable insights during visits. David Ferguson, Education Coordinator at The Northumberland Estates, said: “The project has been a great success and we look forward to welcoming more children to Hulne Park in the new academic year.”
Cawledge Business Park Redevelopment The first of a number of new pilot ‘enterprise hubs’ being made possible by the North East Rural Growth Network has been awarded £31,000 in grant support.
Feedback from the schools accessing Hulne Park has been very positive and teachers inform us that, as well as the obvious benefits of introducing children to nature, these visits also encourage children to develop teamwork skills and encourage creativity.
The office units will allow dynamic start up and very small businesses to occupy a high quality environment on flexible licence arrangements with access to a set of
common support services.
Barry Spall, development planner at Northumberland Estates, said: “Our research has shown there to be a lack of small, high quality and flexible office space in Alnwick of the sort needed by start-up businesses, and this flexible arrangement will be the first of its type for the town.” The North East Rural Growth Network funding was secured by the North East Farming and Rural Advisory Network (NEFRAN) on behalf of the North East Enterprise Partnership (NELEP).
Education NEWS The Northumberland Church of England Academy continues to make great strides as it moves towards its goal of being one of the best providers of education in Northumberland. The Academy’s achievements are growing year by year and there have been marked improvements in examination results for children in every year since the Academy opened. We are particularly proud that 100% of last year’s Year 11 students achieved five or more GCSEs, which will allow them to progress into further education or work; the best outcome for any
secondary school in the county. We add huge value to lives of the children we serve in the communities of Ashington, Newbiggin-by-the-Sea and Lynemouth.
The Academy exists to provide the children we serve with an education that inspires each of them to be the best they can be and unlocks the potential of each member of the community.
culture through its links with the Academy; the work-related learning opportunities the Estates offer to our children; the personal interest His Grace takes in the welfare of the Academy and the governance support provided by many who work for the Estates. That commitment is invaluable to our success!
The Northumberland Estates, as one of the Academy’s sponsors, plays a vital role in building that ambitious
Andrew Day, Executive Director of The Northumberland Church of England Academy
The Academy now has 2500 learners on its five campuses, 100 of whom are based in the special unit for children with profound learning disabilities.
vision through to completion, in creating the foundations for what is today a successfully operating unit. How do you plan on developing your business over the next few years?
Meet the Tenant:
The Hog’s Head Inn Tourism is a major contributor to the economy in the Alnwick area and, with Alnwick Castle and The Alnwick Garden as two of the largest tourist attractions in the North East here, demand for high quality and affordable accommodation is at an all-time high. Recognising this need, The Northumberland Estates successfully secured planning permission for the development of an £4.2 million, 53 bedroom hotel and restaurant complex on the outskirts of Alnwick. Our Planning Department then managed the delivery of a design and build project and, at the end of this, we were delighted to welcome The Hog’s Head Inn as our tenant. Named after the famed inn of the Harry Potter books and films, The Hog’s Head Inn is the perfect base to explore Northumberland with en suite rooms, plenty of parking, free Wi-Fi and an onsite restaurant and bar. Our Commercial Property Department then worked closely with Keith Liddell, Director of Greensfield Moor Developments, the leisure
operator behind The Hog’s Head Inn, and we caught up with him to find out more about his experience of working with The Northumberland Estates: What attracted you to work with The Northumberland Estates to operate the newest place to eat, drink and stay in Northumberland? I admire Northumberland Estates’ business model and their proven track record across a diverse range of operations. The calibre of their projects, be they high tech green energy schemes, affordable housing or new retail amenities share the same vision and investment commitment resulting in structured growth. We knew The Hog’s Head Inn would be a further example of excellence. How would you describe the experience of working with our Commercial Property Department to make your vision become a reality? A great deal of effort went in from ourselves and the Commercial Property Department to take this project from an initial idea, through planning, to the final delivery of a really high-quality development. Support was ongoing from Northumberland Estates from
We have a robust marketing model in place to build upon the very successful position we occupy as a leading food, beverages and accommodation provider in Northumberland. At the cornerstone of this plan are our partnerships. We work closely with Alnwick Castle and The Alnwick Garden as well as other local businesses and destination agency Northumberland Tourism to place Alnwick at the fore as a visitor destination. The group travel sector is a growth area we will be developing over the coming years. You can find out more about The Hog’s Head Inn by visiting www.hogsheadinnalnwick.co.uk or by calling 01665 606 576 and why not take advantage of a last minute bargain getaway in Northumberland? Combine a stay at The Hog’s Head Inn with golf at some of the UK’s best courses in outstanding locations. Tri-course offer playing a round of golf at Alnwick Castle Golf Club, Dunstanburgh Castle Golf Club & Alnmouth (Foxton) Golf Club with two nights bed and breakfast at The Hogs Head Inn just £136.00* per head (based on two adults sharing). Mini golf break offer playing two rounds of golf at Alnwick Castle Golf Club with one night bed and breakfast at The Hog’s Head Inn just £68.50 per person (based on two adults sharing)* To book your golfing break call Alnwick Golf Breaks directly on 01665 602 632 or email enquiries@ alnwickgolfbreaks.co.uk *Terms and conditions apply
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Alnwick Castle A Family Affair Alnwick Castle is now open for the 2013 season. This year we have changed the staff offer and now made it even easier for staff across all of The Northumberland Estates to enjoy a fantastic day out at the castle. All staff need to do is to come to castle Admissions on their first visit with their staff ID badge and they will be issued with an annual family ticket (for 2 adults and up to 4 children). On your first visit your selected family members will have their
photographs taken and will also get their own ticket. These annual tickets can then be used on an unlimited basis across the whole season for the staff member and their immediate family members. The staff member need not necessarily be present on future visits. The pass is not interchangeable or transferrable within a wider family network. Any additional friends or family that want to attend on an ad hoc basis will have to pay the full admission price.
One of the most significant developments at the castle over the winter has been the extensive refurbishment of Knight’s Quest, the interactive family area. In spite of the snow and freezing cold temperatures, the Knight’s Quest arena – formerly the Old Riding School – has been transformed into a colourful, bustling medieval marketplace. Visitors to the castle this season can also look forward to an entertaining programme of visiting performers, including the ever-popular Potterinspired characters with their unique mix of comedy and magic, the master falconers of Raphael Falconry, Peterkin the Jester, and Trouvere Minstrels, to name but a few. The castle is open until 30th October, other than the 19th - 25th June inclusive when it is closed for the family wedding.
Alice Davison, of the Household, sadly died in April 2013.
Hannah Agass departed on 5th April 2013.
Oliver Grant, retired Forest Lodge Gatekeeper, sadly died in April 2013.
Appointments George Daniel was appointed to the role of Arable Farms Manager on 15th April 2013. Page 8 Estates Updates
Prue Jackson departed on 1st January 2013. Richard McAllister departed on 5th April 2013. Pat Scott departed on 28th February 2013. We wish to thank them for their efforts during their time at the Estates.