A £25 million West Cumbrian unique building project has been named as a finalist in prestigious national construction awards.

The developer of the M-Sport Evaluation Centre, at Dovenby Hall, near Cockermouth, has been shortlisted in the National Building & Construction Awards 2020.

Carlisle-based Northern Developments (Cumbria) Limited, established 35 years ago, began building the 111,000 sq ft technical facility and test track last May.

It has been working with M-Sport for a decade on the project.

M-Sport hopes will help it to move into the wider automotive sector and attract mainstream motor manufacturers looking for a cutting-edge facility to design and test new technology.

It is hoped the centre will create around 100 jobs and it was given £1.3 million from Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership last year.

Northern Developments managed the construction of the existing site facility in 1999.

The new building is more than twice the size of M-Sport’s existing production facilities and will create over 100 new jobs.

The first phase of the project, now complete, was the design and construction of the 2.5km test track.

Eddie Ward, commercial manager of Northern Developments, said: “We have worked in deep collaboration with the client for 10 years.

“Drawing on our experience and knowledge combined with our supply chain we were able to deliver significant value engineering solutions, while still meeting the business needs.”

Malcolm Wilson, managing director of M-Sport, said: “It’s always been important for me to keep the

business in Cumbria, and with the help of Cumbria LEP we’re seeing the growth of more and more businesses in our region.

“The M-Sport Evaluation Centre will provide a unique centre of engineering excellence – allowing world leaders in automotive technology to follow their concepts from design and development, right through to production.”

M-Sport’s plans include expanding its motorsport design, as well as development in areas such as electric and battery car technologies and composite parts production.