M Sport Evaluation Centre (MEC) Progress Continues


Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic progress on M-Sport’s state-of-the-art Evaluation Centre continues at pace. Following an initial 6-week closure of the site, works recommenced in a COVID-Secure environment at the beginning of May. Currently the multi-million-pound facility at the firm’s Dovenby Hall Estate in Cumbria remains on course for completion towards the end of the year.

The first phase of works comprised the design and construction of a 2.5km test track. This civils works to facilitate this involved moving 200,000 Tonnes of earth, whilst ensuring a cut and fill balance to ensure that no materials needed to be removed from site. Sustainable drainage to the track included 6.5km drainage and a number of balancing ponds to ensure no negative impact on the local watercourse.

The second and current phase is the associated 111,000ft2 production facility which commenced in May 2019.

The facility is considered integral to the future of the Cockermouth-based business and once complete will safeguard existing jobs as well as creating new skills in the area.

Northern Developments’ team have worked hard over the summer to mitigate the 6-week delay and address supply chain challenges caused by COVID-19 closures and restrictions. The building is now fully clad and watertight.

All internal pre-cast concrete walls have been installed, and initial partitions to separate the 10,723m2 workshop from its various departments are starting to take shape alongside mechanical and electrical installations.

The external concrete road has been laid, and the structural glazing that will form the front of an impressive showroom at the front of the development is now being installed. The project was made possible with investment from the UK Government’s Regional Growth Fund (RGF) as well as Growth Fund investment provided by Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership (CLEP) and will allow M-Sport to develop a one-of-a-kind facility in the UK.

Offering a unique centre of engineering excellence, the M-Sport Evaluation Centre was designed to boost Cumbrian economy, skills and innovation in the Northern Powerhouse – the importance of which has only increased given the current climate.

M-Sport Managing Director, Malcolm Wilson OBE, said:
“I’m extremely proud of what we are creating here at Dovenby Hall, and it’s important that we move forward with an operational facility to attract new business and protect existing jobs as well as new skills in the area. These are particularly challenging times for so many businesses, but once the Evaluation Centre is up and running, I’m confident that we can come out the other side and continue to provide for Cumbria.”

Commercial Manager for Northern Developments, Eddie Ward, said:
“In spite of the impact of the global pandemic, the team on site have worked tirelessly to overcome various challenges, striving to deliver this impressive project on time. The client’s commitment to the local economy is unwavering and we are proud to be able to facilitate such ambitious aspirations in challenging times.”

Established in 1985 Northern Developments work throughout the UK, recently completing more than £16million worth of purpose-built student accommodation developments through new build and refurbishment. Currently, Northern are evaluating several large scale private rented sector schemes. Their M-Sport Project has been shortlisted by the National Building & Construction Awards 2020 for Project of the Year in the £10 million to £25 million category.

Managing Director Martyn Boak commented:

“We continually look for development opportunities, the depth of our experience allows us to look at all sectors and our proven track record of delivering consistently for over 3 decades counts for an awful lot today, the current political backdrop is certainly adversely affecting the real estate
sector and Business’s as a whole which none of the Politicians even begin to understand, however we’re agile, opportunistic and open for Business”.


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BDC 305 Jun 2023