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Northumbria retirement village wins Bloom Gold Award

The zero carbon bungalow Waterside development which features a wild meadow, wetland and pond

A North East retirement village has won a Northumbria in Bloom Gold Award for the fourth year running.

Middleton Hall Retirement Village, near Darlington, won a gold medal in the Best Kept Grounds of a Care Facility in the competition, which celebrated its 50th anniversary this year. Middleton Hall was also named overall winner of the category.

David Richardson, the retirement village’s operations manager, has said: “People enjoy living here because they like the gardens and space that Middleton Hall offers. It’s a fantastic honour to get the Northumbria In Bloom Gold Award for the fourth year running. It recognises the hard work of both the gardening team as well as the residents who want to get involved in creating a beautiful place to live.”

Middleton Hall’s gardeners James Stark, Alan Langburn and head gardener Dean Lazenby

East Coast managing director wins 'Woman of the Year'

Karen Boswell has won 'Woman of the Year' 2014 Credit: East Coast

East Coast Managing Director, Karen Boswell, has won the 'Woman of the Year' Award at a ceremony in London.

The Women 1st Shine Awards are designed to shine light on women who are making their mark in industry.

As Woman of the Year 2014, Karen Boswell now joins the elite Top 100 Club of Britain's most influential women in hospitality, passenger transport, travel and tourism.

Speaking about her award, Karen Boswell said: "This award is one for the team; it's for every one of my colleagues in East Coast who has helped to transform our business over the last five years. I'm absolutely thrilled to have won this award, and we're all really so proud of what we've been able to achieve together to turn around this jewel in the crown of Britain's railways."

£11.2m visitor centre for Hadrian's Wall: A virtual tour

After months of extensive public consultation and refinement, The Sill project have produced the final design concepts for Northumberland's new Landscape Discovery Centre, an £11.2m visitor centre which could be built near Hadrian's Wall.

Jane Darbyshire and David Kendall Ltd were selected earlier this year by Northumberland National Park and the Youth Hostels Association to explore concepts for the new multi-million pound landmark building, which would replace the existing facilities at Once Brewed near Steel Rigg on Hadrian's Wall.

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Pictures: The £11.2m visitor centre for Hadrian's Wall

The Sill Credit: Jane Darbyshire and David Kendall Ltd

Plans to build a £11.2m visitor centre at Hadrian's wall could take another step forward today.

Councillors are meeting to discuss plans for a new facility at Bardon Mill in Northumberland. If approved, building work could start in summer 2015.

The landmark building design, The Sill, is named after the Great Whin Sill bedrock which crosses the landscape of Northumberland National Park.

The Sill promises to "transform how people engage with, experience and learn about landscapes and conservation, and aims to encourage visitors from all backgrounds to discover the inspiring landscapes and heritage of Northumberland National Park and beyond."

View from the south east showing the main visitor entrance Credit: Jane Darbyshire and David Kendall Ltd

With 1,700 people inputting their ideas and feedback, the designs have been drawn up in consultation with partners, the public and expert architects.

The building will be shaped to reflect the undulating contours of the Whin Sill landscape, with roof lights echoing Hadrian's Wall glacial lakes.

The latest concepts incorporate the UK's first 'Whin vegetation roof' created from Northumberland's rare Whin Sill grassland and native plants found in Northumberland National Park.

View from the north east showing first floor café with panoramic views Credit: Jane Darbyshire and David Kendall Ltd

George Osborne tweets there is 'still much to do'

It has been announced that across the UK, the jobless total is now 468,000 fewer than a year earlier, the largest annual fall in unemployment since 1988.

George Osborne has tweeted that the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) mark another step towards full employment.

However, the North East is the worst area in the UK for unemployment, recording a 1,000 increase in the number of people without a job in the three months to July, suggesting there is still much to do by the UK government.

132,000 people unemployed in the North East

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has revealed that a total of 132,000 people were unemployed in the North East between May and July.

The region's unemployment rate was 9.9% and saw a rise of 0.8% during the period.

It is the worst area in the UK for unemployment, recording a 1,000 increase in the number of people without a job in the three months to July.

However, the number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance has fallen below one million for the first time in six years.

And across the UK, the jobless total is now 468,000 fewer than a year earlier, the largest annual fall in unemployment since 1988.

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