Greswolde Construction has won a string of new contracts across the Midlands totalling almost £6 million.

The company, based in Knowle, has just begun work on a new area headquarters for the Red Cross in Worcester.

The £1.4 million development at Berkeley Business Park will house office and m eeting room facilities replacing the present outdated buildings on London Road.

"It will allow us to expand our help to vulnerable people in Worcestershire and provide high quality first aid training facilities for community groups and local businesses," said area admin support manager Nicki Bottomer.

Work has also begun on a residential retreat centre for the General Conference of the New Church in Leicestershire.

The £1.5 million project features the development of a new annexe to be added to the Church's historic retreat, Purley Chase at Mancetter near Atherstone.

"This has been many years in the pipeline and we are delighted that building work is now underway," said chief executive Michael Hindley.

"The facilities at Purley Chase were outdated and not suitable for the spiritual and educational needs of the 21 century."

The new annexe, which will be in keeping with the existing Edwardian manor, will house en-suite bedrooms, a multi-purpose room and seminar rooms plus a dining room.

New schools contracts include the building of a £1.2 million sports hall at North East Worcestershire College. Work on the 10,000 sq ft project on the existing campus will begin in September.

A contract worth more than £630,000 will mean the construction of a single storey extension at St George's Church of England First School, Stevenson Avenue, Redditch.

The extension will house three classrooms and an activity area while internal alterations will also be carried out to form new Sure Start accommodation.

Staff and children at Swin-ford Church Of England Primary School in Leicester will be moving into temporary accommodation while Greswolde carries out major works to build a single storey extension housing new classrooms. ICT/library, cloakrooms and reception.

The £1.2 million contract will also include demolition of existing extensions and new landscaping.

Greswolde managing director Malcolm Priest said: "We are very pleased to be working on such a wide variety of schemes right across the Midlands and look forward to continuing this exciting period of growth."

Meanwhile contractor Linford Group has secured the contract to build a new residential development in the heart of Peak District National Park.

The £2.7million contract at Castle Hill House, Bakewell, will involve the redevelopment of an existing Grade 2 Georgian house to accommodate eight apartments and the refurbishment of an existing cottage on the site.

Perhaps the most exciting part of the development is the creation by architects Lathams of two ultra-modern four-bedroom homes, step-built into the side of a hill in order to blend into the surrounding area.

The new environmentallyfriendly houses will consist of a lower level garage and utility area with all the living space found on the upper floor.

The flat roof will be seeded with sedum grass, helping the modern structure blend into the hillside and providing active insulation for both the summer and winter. The exterior walls will be made of random course gritstone - Derby-shire's traditional building material.

Linford executive chairman Simon Linford said: "Castle Hill is an outstanding example of a contemporary, sustainable 'Grand Design' - the fact that it has won planning permission in a national park stands as testament to the high design and construction values built into the project."

Castle Hill, Bakewell, is a development by Cathelco. It is due for completion in June.