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Our commercial property team recently provided legal support to Groundwork North East in the development of a heritage centre and café at Winlaton Mill in Gateshead.

Part of the Land of Oak & Iron project, which is hosted by Groundwork NE and Cumbria, the flagship £1.8m Land of Oak & Iron Heritage Centre – will explore and celebrate the industrial, cultural and natural heritage of the Derwent Valley and surrounding area.

Groundwork will run the centre as a social enterprise, reinvesting any profits back into its local activities.

Swinburne Maddison undertook the legal work surrounding the certificate of title which was required by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and assisted the client with the execution, completion and registration of the charge.

At the same time, Swinburne Maddison also dealt with a substation lease to the Northern Powergrid on part of the land and was required to contact the freeholder in relation to consent to the lease.

Lauren Rutherford, a solicitor in our commercial property team, acted on the instruction from Groundwork, following a referral.  She said: “We were delighted to have been recommended to undertake this work which is local to our office and provided an opportunity to strengthen our relationship with Groundwork, having provided earlier assistance with lease registration.

“We have a great deal of experience of dealing with transactions such as this which involve securing legal charges and advising the bank, or in this case, the HLF.  It was essential for us to ensure that the charge was completed before the lease and that we met the time deadline with respect to the lease which would have delayed the works if not complied with.”

Glynis Rocks at Groundwork added: “We were very pleased with the legal work that Swinburne Maddison carried out for us, which was undertaken swiftly and smoothly.  The team was very approachable throughout.”

The centre, which opens its doors in August, received lottery funding of £697,700 towards the total project cost of £1,815,017.  In addition to investment from Groundwork and its partner Gateshead Council, additional funding also came from the Rural Growth Network programme, Strategic Economic Infrastructure Fund (SEIF) and other smaller organisations which have supported the project to reach its total.