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Construction Company Creates Woodland to Offset Carbon Footprint of £3m Refrubishment

Date: 9th May 2017

The construction company working on the £3m transformation of a former Victorian stable block in a Middlesbrough Park has created a wildlife haven to offset the company’s carbon footprint.

Northallerton-based Walter Thompson Ltd won the contract to transform Central Lodge in Stewart Park, Middlesbrough, into an educational hub for Askham Bryan College, a specialist in land-based education. The college has run courses from Stewart Park for several years but last year was awarded £3m from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to turn Central Lodge into an education facility featuring courses such as animal management, equine, countryside management and environmental studies.

Walter Thompson’s transformation of Grade II listed Central Lodge includes extensive work to the roof and the general fabric of the building, the creation of lecture rooms, a science lab, a learning resource centre, animal handling areas, workshops and a reception area.

While carrying out the refurbishment, the company was exploring ways of offsetting its carbon footprint. Having identified a suitable area in conjunction with the college, the company then bought 250 trees to create a wildlife educational area within the park. The area will be known as the Askham Bryan and Walter Thompson Community Woodland and include a woodland walk.

“We’re a company who take environmental issues seriously and wanted to offset the carbon footprint of the work we’re doing in Stewart Park,” explained Paul Hammerton, Managing Director of Walter Thompson, experts in the education sector.
Our Site Manager Mick Hamm used a carbon calculator to work out the equivalent tonnage of carbon produced during the works and then asked Askham Bryan College if their students could plant the equivalent in trees. Thankfully, they agreed and the planting of rowan, oak and Downey beech trees – that we sourced locally – has already begun.
“We’re creating a woodland walk, a haven for wildlife, for the enjoyment of the local community as well as students and staff at the college.
“We’re determined to be pro-active in minimising our impact on the environment, so will look for similar opportunities to the woodland on our other sites.”

The construction company has also worked closely with Linthorpe Primary School, whose pupils will also be helping to plant the trees.

Catherine Dixon, Chief Executive, Askham Bryan College said: “Combining the importance of a modern rural industry with respect and care for the environment lie at the heart of our students' learning and this initiative embodies that ethos. Stewart Park will be a fantastic facility and open to students from September with students enrolling now. We are looking forward to welcoming students from local and surrounding communities. I am sure that the woodland will provide a lasting reminder of the importance of the environment for everyone who visits Stewart Park.”

Funding for the College’s transformation of Central Lodge came from the HLF’s Heritage Enterprise programme, funded through money raised by National Lottery players. The programme is designed to help when the cost of repairing a historic building is so high that restoration is not commercially viable. Grants of £100,000 to £5 million bridge the financial gap, funding repairs and conservation work needed to convert derelict, vacant buildings like Central Lodge into new usable commercial spaces that can have a positive impact on local economies.

Last year Walter Thompson won a national award for their work at Linthorpe School. The company was declared winner of the Most Considerate Site 2016 at the UK Considerate Constructors Scheme’s National Site Awards. The award was given within the category of sites with a project value of £500k to £5m. At the same awards ceremony, the company was also awarded a Bronze Award for its work at Stokesley Primary School.

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Askham Bryan College,
Askham Bryan,
YO23 3FR
01904 772277