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2019 Project of the Year: RICS Awards, North East

We're delighted to announce the RICS Project of the Year 2019, North East — the Beacon of Light in Sunderland - along with the winners and highly commended for the RICS Awards 2019, North East.

A diverse range of the North East's most impressive and community beneficial property schemes battled it out for top honours at the annual RICS Awards, North East, which were supported by headline sponsor, Sika and held at the Civic Centre in Newcastle.

Project of the Year — the Beacon of Light, Sunderland (sponsored by Ward Hadaway)

The highly acclaimed 'Project of the Year' title is presented to the scheme which demonstrates overall outstanding best practice and an exemplary commitment to adding value to its local area.

Born from the Foundation of Light (FoL) charity's pledge to combat reported shortcomings in the region's education, health and employment skills, the £18million Beacon of Light is the first not-for-profit facility of its kind in the UK. It offers improvement opportunities for all, from educational and wellbeing resources, skills training, pathways to employment, healthy lifestyle activities and a multitude of sports.

RICS judges said the Beacon of Light has successfully delivered on its goal to involve, encourage, inspire and motivate. They praised the project team – FaulknerBrowns, Foundation of Light, Identity Consult and Tolent – for delivering an exemplary, much-loved community asset that is averaging around 4500 visitors each week, making it a stand-out Project of the Year.

Spot yourself: explore our image gallery from this year's ceremony

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Beacon of Light, Sunderland

Category winners and highly commended entries

Building Conservation

Darlington Hippodrome & Theatre Hullabaloo, Darlington

The project to refurbish, remodel and extend the much-loved Grade II listed theatre has restored the original Edwardian auditorium and entrance, whilst incorporating new additions and facilities to the building. These include a new promenade gallery – which reflects stars and royals such as Queen Victoria that once frequented the theatre – along with a contemporary cafe, heritage and education resources and a purpose designed children's theatre.

RICS judges described the refurbishment and extension as exemplary, and commended the project team - Darlington Borough Council, Space Architects and Willmott Dixon Construction – for their meticulous attention to detail, which has breathed new life into a valuable community asset.

Highly commended: Middlesbrough Town Hall Restoration & Refurbishment, Middlesbrough

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Darlington Hippodrome & Theatre Hullabaloo, Darlington


Sponsored by Forbo Flooring Systems

71 Grey Street, Newcastle upon Tyne

Originally the Turk's Head Hotel, 71 Grey Street is a Grade II listed building in Newcastle's Grainger Town. It was converted in the 1980s into Barclays Bank's North East Headquarters but had fallen into a state of disrepair. The building has been transformed by The Hanro Group and Ryder Architecture into state-of-the-art offices for a variety of users, giving the property a new lease of life and securing its future for years to come.

RICS judges were impressed with the innovative design used throughout, including the boutique entrance and the clever use of exposed services, enabling the developers to achieve top rents, with the offices now fully let.

Highly commended: Level Q, Stockton-on-Tees

Community Benefit

The Beacon of Light, Sunderland

Activities and initiatives at Sunderland's newest sports, community and education facility include the Beacon of Light School, for students marginalised from mainstream education, walking football and netball games, Bring It On! – an interactive showcase of engineering careers, along with toddler play groups, and an NHS Veterans' Mental Health Service.

RICS judges said The Beacon of Light – delivered by FaulknerBrowns, Foundation of Light, Identity Consult and Tolent - is an extremely worthy home for the Foundation of Light charity and the diverse range of services and projects it provides to improve people's lives. The stunning facility has also created a positive, visible landmark for Sunderland, with colour-changeable lighting that supports special awareness campaigns and the city's football team.

Design Through Innovation

Sponsored by Sika

Cleveland Community Safety Hub, Middlesbrough

This modern day, innovative and highly energy efficient headquarters for the Cleveland Police Force represents its drive to be fully engaged with its community and partner agencies.

RICS judges commended the project team – Arcadis, Esh Construction and McBains - for using local materials to reflect its industrial heritage and implementing the latest energy saving technologies to ensure the building delivers excellent value for money. The Judges were also impressed with the project's innovative engagement with the local community, and expect this to pave the way for further development in the immediate area.

Highly Commended: Janet Nash House, Durham

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Cleveland Community Safety Hub, Middlesbrough


Northern Spire Bridge, Sunderland

This striking £117million bridge has provided a vital new transport link over the River Wear and is an integral part of a strategic transport corridor which links the International Advanced Manufacturing Park on the A19 with the Port of Sunderland, both of which were recently designated as Enterprise Zones.

RICS judges said the bridge - delivered by Faithful+Gould, Farrans, Victor Buyck, Buro Happold, Roughan & O'Donnovan Design along with Sunderland City Council - is connecting communities and driving inward investment in Sunderland. It is also expected to create thousands of new jobs at development sites along the riverside and bring new business opportunities to the city centre.

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Northern Spire Bridge, Sunderland


Sponsored by Northumbria University

Ravensworth Road scheme, Gateshead

The Ravensworth Road scheme has radically transformed the site formerly occupied by the famous "Dunston Rocket" 1960's tower block that dominated the Tyneside skyline. The block and adjacent deck access flats have been replaced by a sustainable new neighbourhood comprising homes for sale, an older persons housing scheme, an Aldi store, a new doctor's surgery and pharmacy, and a pocket park.

RICS judges were impressed by the tenacity and resilience of the project team – Gateshead Council, Keepmoat Homes and Norr Consultants Ltd - for delivering the scheme from concept to reality over several years, overcoming many challenges which has resulted in a brand new place with quality amenities.

Residential Property

The Green, Hartlepool

This significant housing regeneration scheme is helping to breathe new life into Hartlepool's town centre, having replaced 175 semi-derelict terraced properties with 86 modern, high-quality 1,2 and 3 bed homes for rent, situated around a communal green.

RICS judges praised the project team behind The Green – Placefirst Construction and MCAU Architects - for the attention to detail internally and externally on the properties. This has resulted in contemporary and desirable homes that are well let and encouraging community engagement around the central green.

Highly Commended: Longhirst Hall, Morpeth

Tourism & Leisure

Sponsored by Turner & Townsend

Spanish City, Whitley Bay

The project to restore and transform Whitley Bay's iconic Spanish City building, with family-friendly restaurants, tea rooms and even a champagne bar has been received exceptionally well by the public. Over 16,000 visitors queued for the opening in July 2018 and over 100,000 customers have visited since. It also recently featured in The Telegraph's "Best of British: 10 destinations you must discover in 2019."

RICS judges commended the exemplary collaboration of the project team - ADP Architecture, North Tyneside Council and Robertson Construction – for its popularity and outstanding success in bringing the former decaying building back into use, with unrivalled views of Whitley Bay's seafront and beach.

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The Green, Hartlepool

Thank you to our sponsors

  • Project of the Year sponsor

  • RICS Awards headline sponsor and Design Through Innovation sponsor

  • Regeneration sponsor

  • Residential sponsor

    Faithful + Gould
  • Tourism & Leisure sponsor

    Turner & Townsend

Don't miss out - book your place at RICS Awards 2019 Grand Final!

Friday 4th October | Royal Lancaster London

RICS Awards showcase the most inspirational initiatives and developments in land, real estate, construction and infrastructure.




12:00 PM - 04:00 PM
Date and time:
Fri 4 Oct 2019
Individual price £175 + VAT