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Leading North East architect blames collapse on Brexit

One of the best-known architecture practices in the North East of England has gone out of business, blaming the impact of the Brexit vote on the construction industry.

Red Box Design, which designed the National Football Centre at St George’s Park in Staffordshire, as well as a string of landmark buildings in Newcastle, Gateshead and Sunderland, saw five major projects either delayed or cancelled following June’s vote for Britain to leave the EU.

The closure of the firm, based in Gateshead, will mean 18 job losses.

Downturn

The firm’s managing director Barry Farrar said: “We had five major projects that have been either delayed or stopped altogether as a result of Brexit. Before that I had been looking to recruit staff but even those projects that had been delayed were for six or nine months and we just couldn’t continue.

“The construction industry is always the first sector that gets hit in a downturn and it’s the last sector to pick up again. I would hope other practices aren’t hit but it could happen.”

Red Box, which previously maintained offices in London, Amsterdam and the Chinese city of Changsha, designed the Sunderland Aquatic Centre, the headquarters of Northern Rock bank, college buildings in Newcastle, Sunderland, Gateshead and Middlesbrough, and the Northern Design Centre.

The practice was founded in 1985 by Alan J Smith, who was awarded an OBE for services to architecture in 2006.

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