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inside: City of reinvention, Discovery Quarter, Quayside, West Newcastle, Byker and much more...

NEWCASTLE’S REGENERATION MAGAZINE

ISSUE TWO 2007


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Welcome to Newcastle Newcastle is enjoying unprecedented levels of growth and investment. Building on internationally recognised, award-winning regeneration schemes like East Quayside and Grainger Town the City Council is embarking on a whole new regeneration programme which will transform large parts of the City Centre and the residential areas along the Tyne riverside over the next 15 years. Our ambitious plans for Science City will include the development of one of the biggest city centre regeneration sites in the UK, whilst further high profile schemes such as the Discovery Quarter, Walker Riverside, Newcastle Great Park and Ouseburn Valley are shaping the profile of a fast developing and vibrant European City.

Talking 窶話out No. 1 St James' Gate, Newcastle

Baltic Business Quarter, Gateshead

Rotterdam House, Quayside, Newcastle

Commercial Street Shopping and Leisure development, Darlington

Thornaby Town Centre Redevelopment

Eldon Square, Newcastle

Quayside House, Newcastle Captain Cook Sq, Middlesbrough

www.newcastle.gov.uk

our regeneration Experience our experience Newcastle 0191 261 2681 Teesside 01642 870870 Leeds 0113 369 6000 London 020 7851 2100 Manchester 0161 615 7000 sandersonweatherall.com

Property Adviser of the Year for the North East and Yorkshire

J1314 Renaissance Magazine 297x230 plus 3mls Bleed All Round FULL COLOUR (email pdf) 10/05/06


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Editor Sarah Herbert sarah@3foxinternational.com Deputy editor Kirsty MacAulay kirsty@3foxinternational.com Advertisement sales Fergus Bird fergus@3foxinternational.com Art editor Terry Hawes terry@3foxinternational.com

welcome How Newcastle is beginning to shine

Production manager Sue Mapara sue@3foxinternational.com Managing director Toby Fox toby@3foxinternational.com Printed by Trade Winds Images Closegate Developers, Capital Shopping Centres, Hotel du Vin, Newcastle City Council, Newcastle College, Newcastle University, Nexus, Shepherd Developments, Silverlink Developers, Terrace Hill, Urban Initiatives, Great Run, Cities Revealed, Sam Judson Published by 189 Lavender Hill London SW11 5TB T: 020 7978 6840 F: 020 7978 6837 For Newcastle City Council

Paul Goodwin, sector development officer paul.goodwin@newcastle.gov.uk Subscriptions and Feedback To register for free subscriptions and/or to offer your comments visit www.renaissancenewcastle.com © 3Fox International Limited 2007

I AM VERY PLEASED THAT THE FIRST EDITION

of Renaissance was such a success. This second edition will explain more about the council’s ambitious 15-year vision for the future of Newcastle, now well under way. Our broadly based perspective of regeneration is not just about bricks and mortar: it also addresses economic prosperity and jobs, better transport, improved health and education,

environmental responsibility and most importantly, thriving, inclusive and sustainable communities.

Development of new family housing, including significant numbers of affordable units,

has started in Walker Riverside. The exciting plans for major changes in WestNewcastle are

also taking shape. But for the city to succeed as the focal point for a strong city region it must be outward-looking. Any regeneration must place Newcastle’s future economic

prosperity in the context of a changing national, European and international context.

But the council cannot achieve this success alone. To get things done, we must work

innovatively with partners in different sectors, while exercising visible, strategic leadership.

Effective delivery is the key to success. We’re making good progress with the local

development framework, a spatial plan to underpin the future development of Newcastle.

In addition, detailed area action plans are well advanced for the major regeneration areas of Walker Riverside and WestNewcastle, and a city centre action plan is being prepared.

This second issue of Renaissance will tell the story of Newcastle’s regeneration progress,

and I hope that you will get an impression of the potential that will be unlocked in the next few years as developments come forward.

All material is strictly copyright and all rights are reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without the written permission of 3Fox International Limited is strictly forbidden. The greatest care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of information in this magazine at time of going to press, but we accept no responsibility for omissions or errors. The views expressed in this magazine are not necessarily those of 3Fox International Limited or Newcastle City Council.

Marie Fallon

Director of regeneration

Newcastle City Council

03 3


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NEWCASTLE’S REGENERATION MAGAZINE ISSUE TWO: 2007

contents 25

21 06 City of reinvention Newscastle has found its niche and is reinventing itself accordingly 14 City on the move A look at the residential, office and commercial markets 16 Regeneration city So what’s been happening? Where? And how?

37 04

20 CITY CENTRE Read the low-down on what is happening in the city centre 21 Learning curve Newcastle’s educational campuses are being upgraded and expanded 25 Shopping central Extra retail space and improved transport facilities can only be a good thing 29 City focus A new quarter is being established alongside the city centre 33 Quay to the city Head to the Quayside – it’s nearly finished


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Advertisers: Newcastle City Council, Newcastle Gateshead Initiative, Hanro Group, Closegate Developments, Capital Shopping Centres, CDA, Metnor Group, Yuill Homes, Home Group, Nexus

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40 37 GREATER NEWCASTLE Further out, it’s all about innovative residential developments 38 Tides of change Walker Riverside’s regeneration has started 40 Valley of ventures Newcastle’s cultural hub continues to grow 44 Urban renaissance Big things are planned for the West End neighbourhood 48 Design rules The grade II* Byker Estate’s new home zone 50 Modern living Newcastle’s newest residential quarter 05 5


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City of reinvention Finding a new niche in the 21st century economy, the regeneration of Newcastle is focusing on its strengths in the research, creative and retail sectors to become a regional force to be reckoned with.

TAP THE WORD REGENERATION into an internet search engine and most of the results thrown up will refer to urban renewal, with the odd reference to genetic research or stem cell regeneration, the current buzz topic in the life sciences. But it’s safe to say that the world of urban regeneration rarely crosses paths with its bioscientific namesake, except in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. There the city fathers are laying bets that one sustainable route to economic regeneration lies in cutting edge advances in bio-technology. A generation ago, Newcastle’s economic role was clear. Heavy industries, like mining, ship-building and engineering used to employ half the city’s workforce. Now the proportion is less than 3%. Last summer, another of Newcastle’s famous name employers shut up shop when the owners of the Swan Hunter shipyard announced that they were selling the business. Mainly as a result of this shake-out, Newcastle’s economy has grown more 6

slowly than that of any other core city in the last decade. And the city compares poorly with its European counterparts too, ranking 58th in a league table of EU cities carried out in 2001. These and other issues present Newcastle with a stiff challenge, but it’s one that the city has chosen to meet head-on. To this end, the council recently commissioned a report by the OECD, arguably the world’s leading authority on economic research. Happily for Newcastle, the OECD finds many positives: the recent growth of the cultural and creative sectors as well as in business services, for example. And the fall in unemployment to a third of its mid 1990s level. Quality of life is also highlighted, notably residents’ easy access to countryside and the coast. And the OECD emphasises the potential for economic improvement: the presence of a strong private sector base with the capacity to innovate much more than it does now and, tellingly, the potential for the city’s universities to exploit the city’s already substantial science-related activity.

Above left: The International Centre for Life’s DNA sculpture.

Overall, however, the report pulls few punches. On its launch last July, Newcastle City Council leader John Shipley observed: “We asked for an independent report of a depth and authority never seen before in the UK, and that’s what we got.” Among its most hard-hitting findings: unemployment is still nearly 2% higher than the national average; and the city has lost 15,500 people, representing just over one in 20 of its population, over the past two decades. Even inward investment, which has helped to prop up the regional economy in recent years, is migrating to the new EU member states, which has undermined the North East’s


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FEATURE: REINVENTION

selling card of the 1980s and 90s as a low-cost production base for manufacturing in Europe. Newcastle therefore needs to find new unique selling points to survive and prosper in an increasingly competitive global economy. The city’s good transport links – only three hours by train from London – help to compensate for its geographically peripheral location. And Newcastle International Airport’s passenger numbers are projected to grow from 4.6 million to 10 million by 2016. The city is now served by scheduled services to many European cities and it recently secured its first regular route outside Europe with the launch of a service to Abu Dhabi. The port of Tyne »

The regeneration of Newcastle is in full swing

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Portland Road Development Impressive green credentials for new landmark scheme at Portland Road, Newcastle R

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Artists impression of Building 1a

Location: The site is situated close to the City Centre on Portland Road/Stoddart Street, Newcastle upon Tyne. Near to the shops and restaurants of Jesmond and Heaton, close to the Biscuit Factory Art Gallery and part of the Ouseburn Development area. This area is currently undergoing a major transformation with new developments and the regeneration/ refurbishment of older buildings. The development will bring a new lease of life to this part of the City with contemporary architecture and low carbon emission buildings.

Size of Development: Artists impression of Building 1b

street environments to complement the surrounding areas and architecture. The buildings will be contemporary and are designed to achieve an excellent BREEAM rating. It will be a ‘futureproof’ building for the environmentally and cost-conscious business operator. Phase 1a & b are offices including an element of retail. Building 1a:

designed for smaller occupiers of typically 200 -1,000 sq ft 37,957 sqft (3,526.30m2) net office space

Building 1b:

designed for a single end use but with the flexibility to divide by floor and within floors. 40,042 sq ft (3,720m2) net office space

The size of the overall site is 7.5 acres and will be developed in a series of phases over a period of approx 4 years. The overall scheme will be mixed use with elements of office, retail and residential.

Planning: Metnor Property Group is the developer and is applying for planning permission in March 2007 for Phase 1 of the development with a view to start on site later on in 2007 and for completion towards the end of 2008. The overall master plan and Phase 1 has been designed by Faulkner Browns Architects based in Newcastle upon Tyne.

The next phase of this development will include 100,000 sq ft of office space.

Contact: Tony Wordsworth, GVA Lamb & Edge 0191 2612361 tony.wordsworth@gvalambedge.co.uk Brian Ham, Director, Metnor Property Group Ltd 0191 2684000 bham@metnor.co.uk

The Scheme: The development is being designed and constructed to have an exceptionally low ‘carbon footprint’. In addition to its green credentials the design of the overall scheme has been thought through to create

Gerald Hall, Director, Metnor Property Group Ltd 0191 2684000 ghall@metnor.co.uk

METNOR

METNOR

PROPERTY GROUP


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FEATURE: REINVENTION

Above, left to right: Grey Street; Grey’s Monument; Grainger Town

too has seen an increase in both the number of passengers and volume of freight that it handles in recent years. Nevertheless, the OECD suggests that medium-sized cities like Newcastle need to generate their own growth by making better use of indigenous skills and expertise to build their knowledge economies. This is why the city’s bioscience sector is so important. The city’s universities are seen as important for growth in several different ways. For one, they attract large numbers of students from the rest of the UK, who offer local employers a large pool of skilled graduate labour. Northern Rock regional director Chris Jobe says there is evidence that increasing numbers of graduates from the city’s universities are staying in Newcastle. But just as importantly for long-term regeneration is the research carried out in universities, which can spawn spin-off economic activity. Both Newcastle and nearby Durham universities rank amongst the UK’s leading research institutions. Newcastle University is one of the UK’s top 15 research higher education institutions, attracting £54 million of funding last year. Newcastle’s international reputation in the field of bio-research was highlighted

in January, when the city’s North East England Stem Cell Institute became one of two UK research bodies to submit applications to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority to create hybrid human and animal embryos. The Science City initiative (see p21) seeks to build on the universities’ international reputations in four key disciplines: molecular engineering, energy and the environment, stem cell biology and regenerative medicine and aging and health. While Newcastle has developed a strong academic reputation in these fields, until now they have not produced visible economic benefits for the city and surrounding region. A relatively low proportion of Newcastle’s population is employed in science and technology. Former council executive member for economic regeneration Greg Stone says that the objective of the Science City project is to turn Newcastle into a major player in the life sciences field. The project is expanding the International Centre for Life so that it becomes a focal point for stem cell research, attracting the best scientific talent from across the world. And further investment is being ploughed into the campus for Ageing and Vitality at West Newcastle’s General Hospital. The Discovery Quarter,

The city’s universities are important for growth in several ways currently being developed on the edge of the city centre former Scottish and Newcastle brewery site (see p29), will provide incubator units for spin-off businesses. However, Newcastle is not just putting all of its economic development eggs in the science basket. While the lab-coated boffins have been building their reputations, the city has also been undergoing a cultural renaissance, which council bosses see as another driver for the development of the city’s 21st century economy. From an admittedly low base, the creative industries sector is growing faster on Tyneside than anywhere else in the UK. The North East accounts for just 2% of the UK’s design businesses. But around a third of these firms have emerged in the past three years, with a big concentration in the Ouseburn Valley and Grainger Town. The city has seen a string of important cultural venues open in recent » 09


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Welcome to the new capital of Britain.

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learn, visit and work. Already we have been named by The Times newspaper as its ‘new capital of Britain’. But at NewcastleGateshead Initiative our aim is to further increase economic, employment and social benefits through culture-led tourism. LIVE: Things are really happening here. We’re staging world-class events, creating art galleries, building music centres and commissioning celebrated works of art. Recently, The Sunday Times named the Angel of the North one of the ‘Seven Wonders of Britain’. The Sage Gateshead has also been named the ‘most exciting music venue in Britain’ by The Times.

LEARN: Our city is not only home to two world-class universities and an international centre for genetic research, but has also been awarded the status of ‘Science City’.

VISIT: We’re No. 1 for nightlife, according to the Rough Guide to Britain. But it’s not just as a party city that we’re world renowned. NewcastleGateshead was named UK Capital of the Arts in a survey conducted for TV Channel Artsworld. Readers of Condé Nast Traveller magazine voted us the easiest UK destination to get around, and we were also voted their favourite English destination outside London.

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NewcastleGateshead.com or enquiries@ngi.org.uk


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FEATURE: REINVENTION

Co-operation is key The days when cities like Newcastle relied on out-competing their near neighbours have long gone. Instead, Newcastle deputy chief executive Paul Rubenstein believes that it is a better bet for the city to co-operate with the likes of Leeds and Manchester. The highly influential recent OECD report on the Newcastle conurbation (see main feature) suggests that by matching complementary functions, it will be possible to create a critical mass of activity and so boost the overall regional economy. This thinking is most fleshed out in the Northern Way, the government and regional development agency backed initiative to promote the north of England’s economy by promoting development within the triangle bounded by Hull, Liverpool and Newcastle. The Northern Way’s offices are based in Newcastle, underlining the importance that North East regeneration bodies give to the initiative. Since its launch in 2003, the Northern Way has examined a number of ways in which the region’s big cities can work closer together. As part of the initiative, universities in the north have clubbed together to form the N8 group. Rubenstein says that the combined expertise within these eight institutions rivals that of the South East’s ‘Golden Triangle’ between Cambridge, London and Oxford, widely recognised as key to the success of the region.

years, including Gateshead’s BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Arts, across the Tyne, the neighbouring SAGE Centre and the International Centre for Life museum. In 2002, Newsweek magazine voted Newcastle one of the world’s eight most creative cities, on a par with places like Austin, Texas and Antwerp. The hitherto largely neglected Ouseburn Valley has, in particular, become a hive of creative activity, thanks to the cheap space it has been able to offer to artists and creative businesses start-ups. Much of this activity has been generated off the back of work carried out at Northumbria University, which is building a new design school providing first-class new facilities. Across the river, the Design Centre for the North, being developed at Gateshead’s Baltic Business Quarter, will provide facilities to transfer this design expertise to the market. Newcastle council is seeking to capitalise on this by using its planning powers to create a ‘design corridor’ linking the university and the new centre.

The city also plays host to big annual events like the Great North Run, the world’s largest half marathon. These cultural attractions have very direct economic benefits. The city’s location on the doorstep of two UNESCO World Heritage Sites at Durham Cathedral and Hadrian’s Wall means that it is one of the UK cities most visited by overseas residents. And it takes well under an hour to reach areas of outstanding natural beauty in the surrounding countryside. Stone, who now works as a Newcastlebased director of sustainable development consultancy Beyond Green, says: “We have a very exciting and vibrant city combined with a quality of life that London and the South East can’t offer. We are increasingly targeting the Geordie diaspora people who left 30 years ago to go down south and who we can attract back now with the relatively low cost of living.” And the efforts to regenerate the city have, according to NewcastleGateshead Initiative marketing director Phil Payne,

The Discovery Quarter is set to become the focus of Newcastle’s Science City framework

provided the infrastructure needed to attract investors and visitors. “We now have locations like Newcastle Quayside, which has become fundamental to attracting major events like the Tall Ships Race which are highlighting the area.” But Stone acknowledges that not everybody will be able to find jobs in the knowledge sectors the city is seeking to promote. “There have to be other strings to the bow, particularly if you are trying to get the workless of deprived parts of the city back to work,” he says. “You can’t expect everybody to be research scientists.” The city’s regeneration, particularly the £120 million regeneration of the historic Grainger Town quarter 10 years ago, has created a more pleasant environment, giving a shot in the arm to the retail sector which is such an important source of low-skill labour in the modern UK economy. Stone says: “We’ve got the best retail offer between Yorkshire and Scotland. It’s increasingly a vibrant and pleasant place to be.” I 11


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The Hanro Group is committed to the regeneration of Newcastle upon Tyne and the North East of England. Over the last ten years the Group has developed over 40,000 square metres of mixed use development in and around

THE HANRO GROUP

Newcastle. They also have a substantial development programme planned and under construction. By way of illustration, detailed planning consent has been granted and preparatory works are underway for a major mixed use scheme at Strawbery Place in the St. James’ Boulevard quarter for 11,000 square metres of Grade A offices, together with a 160 bedroom hotel, associated retail provision and public parking. As a long term investor in property and Newcastle, Hanro are particularly interested in design quality and environmental sustainability. Specifically, in 2004, the final phase of it’s 18,000 square metre Citygate development was completed on the site of a former tannery, leadworks and latterly, coach station. Considerable remediation works were undertaken and the completed building is one of only two private sector commercial buildings in Newcastle City centre to be awarded the coveted BREEAM “excellent” rating. Tenants within the investment portfolio include Sainsbury, Scottish and Newcastle, Northern Rock, Peugeot, Ernst & Young and Pret a Manger to name a few. The Hanro Group are proud to be associated with the Renaissance of Newcastle, and will continue to work with it’s public and private sector partners to continue the growth of a great patch.

Various views of the proposed Strawberry Place development in the heart of Newcastle City Centre. Citygate, another Hanro Regeneration scheme in Newcastle.

impressive changes in your patch The Hanro Group is a privately owned Property Investment and Development Company based in Newcastle. What makes the Group stand out is the fact that approximately half of it’s £120 million property investment portfolio is within the City of Newcastle upon Tyne. Furthermore, a significant proportion of it’s £100 million development programme is also within and around Newcastle City Centre.

The Printworks, Newcastle.

THE HANRO GROUP Holland Park, Holland Drive, Newcastle upon Tyne NE2 4LZ tel 0191 261 1777 fax 0191 261 2777 email ajs@hanrogroup.co.uk


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The Hanro Group is committed to the regeneration of Newcastle upon Tyne and the North East of England. Over the last ten years the Group has developed over 40,000 square metres of mixed use development in and around

THE HANRO GROUP

Newcastle. They also have a substantial development programme planned and under construction. By way of illustration, detailed planning consent has been granted and preparatory works are underway for a major mixed use scheme at Strawbery Place in the St. James’ Boulevard quarter for 11,000 square metres of Grade A offices, together with a 160 bedroom hotel, associated retail provision and public parking. As a long term investor in property and Newcastle, Hanro are particularly interested in design quality and environmental sustainability. Specifically, in 2004, the final phase of it’s 18,000 square metre Citygate development was completed on the site of a former tannery, leadworks and latterly, coach station. Considerable remediation works were undertaken and the completed building is one of only two private sector commercial buildings in Newcastle City centre to be awarded the coveted BREEAM “excellent” rating. Tenants within the investment portfolio include Sainsbury, Scottish and Newcastle, Northern Rock, Peugeot, Ernst & Young and Pret a Manger to name a few. The Hanro Group are proud to be associated with the Renaissance of Newcastle, and will continue to work with it’s public and private sector partners to continue the growth of a great patch.

Various views of the proposed Strawberry Place development in the heart of Newcastle City Centre. Citygate, another Hanro Regeneration scheme in Newcastle.

impressive changes in your patch The Hanro Group is a privately owned Property Investment and Development Company based in Newcastle. What makes the Group stand out is the fact that approximately half of it’s £120 million property investment portfolio is within the City of Newcastle upon Tyne. Furthermore, a significant proportion of it’s £100 million development programme is also within and around Newcastle City Centre.

The Printworks, Newcastle.

THE HANRO GROUP Holland Park, Holland Drive, Newcastle upon Tyne NE2 4LZ tel 0191 261 1777 fax 0191 261 2777 email ajs@hanrogroup.co.uk


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City on the move Newcastle is in transition, with key developments bringing hundreds of thousands of square metres of much-needed residential, leisure, retail and office space to the city.

ALL THIS DEVELOPMENT IS much needed. In comparison with its northern city neighbours, such as Leeds and Manchester, Newcastle’s commercial property market has room for improvement. The demand is there but for various reasons there has been a lack of development in the past few years. However, with the implementation of the city centre action plan and new schemes in the pipeline Newcastle will soon be catching up with its northern counterparts. RESIDENTIAL Today there are almost 3,700 city centre homes, with approximately 200 to be built each year up to 2011. Almost 80,000 more units are due for construction in the next 15 years as part of the Newcastle Gateshead Pathfinder initiative, although these will be largely outside the city centre. According to Amy Whyte of Knight Frank, as of last June there were 861 units under construction or with planning permission in the centre of Newcastle. Although this is less than other main northern cities, 14

with the decline of industrial land, more development areas are becoming available. However, as with many cities, there are worries that not enough family homes are being built. Stephen Jackson, head of partnership development at North East house builder Yuill Homes, believes the housing market in Newcastle remains strong “but in recent years has been over-dominated by the provision of apartments within the central area. “Newcastle needs to look towards provision of family housing and starter homes to attract back buyers who currently look to North Tyneside and North West Durham for their housing needs,” he adds. “The past few years have seen a great deal of preparation being put into initiatives such as Bridging Newcastle and Gateshead, and we are now looking towards an exciting period with schemes for the regeneration of Scotswood and other areas becoming reality on the ground.” According to figures from Knight Frank, the average price for a new apartment in central Newcastle ranges between £280 and £300 per sq ft. In total, 15,000 more units are due for

construction by 2021, of which: * 9,000 will be houses * 1,800 affordable * 1,200 social rented * 6,000 extra student bed spaces (source: Newcastle City Council) Key schemes include:  Walker Riverside. The £185 million residential-led redevelopment will provide up to 1,200 homes. (For more on this project, see p38).  Ouseburn Valley. This mixed-use urban village development will eventually add 1,000 units to the city stock by 2021 (see p40).  Imperial Quay. A mixed-use scheme by developer AWG set to deliver 65 units (see p33).  Scotswood Housing Expo. A flagship pathfinder scheme providing 1,800 new homes (see p44). OFFICES Even though there has been almost 40,000sq m of new office accommodation built in Newcastle over the past six years, the city’s office market has struggled to keep up with other major northern cities such as

residential Top: Imperial Quay, by AWG, will deliver 65 apartments in Newcastle’s lively Quayside area. Below: At Walker Riverside, one of the biggest regeneration schemes in Newcastle, Bellway Homes and Places for People will help redevelop the riverside area with family housing.


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The Markets

office Redevelopment of the Tyne brewery site in the city centre will provide employment for up to 5,000 people.

Centre at Gosforth; Gosforth Business Park and Newcastle Great Park.” The current headline rent for a Grade A building is at £20 per sq ft.

Leeds and Manchester. But it is not a lack of demand but limited supply that is the cause, even though the city centre has almost 22ha of land identified for commercial development. As Jonathan Sykes with King Sturge says, rents are still going up, but what the city really needs is developers to start on new projects. Gavin Black of the eponymous agency agrees. “Arguably Newcastle is being held back by the current lack of office availability in the city centre. There is a lack of space available across all size ranges, and particularly of grade A space.” This is evident as the newest city centre office building, Terrace Hill’s 80,000sq ft Time Central (due to be completed early this year) has been snapped up in pre-lets. Robert Muckle solicitors has already taken three floors. This will all change over the next couple of years as developments come on stream. As Black points out: “Newcastle has a number of different markets for offices, namely the city centre core, Quayside (where the 70m drop to the Quayside is an issue); behind Central Station; new developments in the Discovery Quarter to include the former brewery site at Gallowgate; Regent

Key development schemes:  Tyne Brewery: The site has since been earmarked as HQ of the massive Science City regeneration plan, (see p29).  Ouseburn Valley: To deliver 65,000sq ft of office space.  Imperial Quay: Mixed-use scheme set to provide 92,000sq ft of offices.  Great Park: Planning permission granted for three new buildings on the business park near Sage HQ(see p 50). RETAIL/LEISURE The Gate – a huge leisure complex of cinemas, restaurants, bars and a casino – was developed by Land Securities and opened in 2002 as one of Newcastle’s main leisure schemes. But agents in the city bemoan that the impetus for development in the area has since been lost. With 8.2% of the UK population over the age of 16 visiting Newcastle and Gateshead between October 2005 and September 2006, it is clear there is the need for more similar schemes. With one of the area’s main thoroughfares almost in single ownership, development for both leisure and retail should start in earnest before too long. The area in question is a quarter of a mile along the east side of Pilgrim Street in Newcastle, extending from the Northumberland Street prime retail pitch to the landmark 55° North development. The site, being assembled by Australian developer Multiplex, should

retail/leisure Eldon Square, with some of the highest rental values outside central London, is being extended, with 29,700sq m of new retail space.

provide a mixture of retail, leisure and residential. The demand is certainly there. ASDA George and TK Maxx are looking for bigger units, House of Fraser requires a department store, and Selfridges has an outstanding requirement. Northumberland Street and Eldon Square have two of the highest zone A rents outside central London at approximately £330 per sq ft and rising. As for the future, acccording to CACI, the market in 2006 was worth £1,152 million. CACI Retail Footprint 2006 (which represents shopper behaviour) lists Newcastle 18th out of the top 50 British towns and cities. The city is expected to go up just one place, to 17th, once the Eldon Square expansion is completed Key development schemes:  Eldon Square Shopping Centre: £150 million project will provide up to 29,700sq m of new retail space (see p25).  Imperial Quay: mixed-use scheme will have 3,000sq m of restaurants and bars.  Haymarket Hub: Redevelopment of Metro station and creation of 6,000sq m of office space (see p27). 15


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Newcastle Great Park Mixed-use green-field development with 2,500 homes, school, leisure and more than 45,000sq m of business space. Will include £10 million investment in infrastructure and be accessible from both the airport and city centre.

There’s a lot going on in Newcastle, from extending the North East’s favourite shopping centre to creating a new cultural quarter, to creating sustainable communities where people want to live.

»

regeneration city West Newcastle

Regeneration of the west end of Newcastle, including construction of 1,800-pupil Excelsior Academy (complete autumn 2008), 1,800 houses on a 60ha Scotswood site (start 2008).

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FEATURE: OVERVIEW

Quayside

Core area Eldon Square: £170 million refurbishment, to include new bus station, an extra 29,700sq m retail space, and a £5 million transformation of 3,000sq m square itself. £20 million regeneration of Haymarket Metro station, with office and leisure space.

Work will begin this year on Imperial Quay, by AWG and Shepherd Developments, a 10storey (9,000sq m) office block, and 11storey, 61-unit residential tower. Wimpey is also seeking permission for a mixeduse scheme.

Byker Ouseburn Valley Northern Quarter Multi-million pound extensions to the city’s university and college campuses.

Discovery Quarter

Continued growth of cultural sector, including an independent cinema, boutique hotel, and residential community, plus business units at Upper and Lower Steenbergs Yards.

Refurbishment of grade II*-listed 1970s estate into sustainable community. Development of new housing at South Byker as part of the Byker Design Project.

Walker Riverside £450 million transformation of rundown area into sustainable neighbourhood, with 2,200 new homes, business units, shops, community facilities (including new school), and transport links.

Redevelopment of several major sites, including the Tyne Brewery, to house the hub of Science City, £55 million office and hotel scheme, and a £12 million office development.

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FEATURE: OVERVIEW

ALL THIS DEVELOPMENT IS based on the regeneration strategy, recently produced following widespread consultation. It sets out in detail the challenges facing the city – such as attracting investment and employment to expand the business base, increase business start-up rates, and encourage innovation – and how Newcastle, along with many cities, needs to raise its competitiveness in economic and social terms. The aim of the ambitious, but achievable, 15-year programme is to create, by 2021, a vibrant and sustainable city with a diverse, growing population that is healthy and thrives in a strong, dynamic economy. Public spaces will have been transformed, building on the city’s character, and people will enjoy equal chances in employment, education, housing and health. But the council cannot achieve all this on its own. To direct the various regeneration programmes it needs to work alongside private sector partners and other regeneration agencies like One NorthEast, English Partnerships and Bridging NewcastleGateshead in accessing and sending funds from various government and European programmes. One project on the ground that epitomises this public/private working is Walker Riverside (see p38), a long-term, £450 million regeneration of 70 hectares of land along the River Tyne. More than 2,000 homes, new business units, shops, vastly improved community facilities, better transport links and reinvigorated public space will be delivered by the Walker Riverside Partnership, a joint venture between Places for People, Newcastle City Council and Bridging Newcastle Gateshead (one of nine housing market renewal Pathfinder schemes set up in 2002 to address low demand in the housing market in the North and Midlands). At Walker Riverside, the council used its compulsory purchase order powers to help the scheme come to fruition, but this isn’t always the case. As Mick Firth, Newcastle City Council’s city-wide projects group manager says: “The 18

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Discovery Quarter Quayside Northern Quarter Walker Riverside Ouseburn Valley West Newcastle Newcastle Great Park Byker area

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public sector gets involved in two different ways. In regeneration areas it has a more direct intervention – whether that’s financial help, involvement in Pathfinder areas, capital investment or using land assets to make things happen. In the city centre core, the public sector role has tended to be one of facilitating.” One example of the council’s role in the city centre is the design competition it ran for a new light and airy bus station at Eldon Square shopping centre, to improve the environment and entice more shoppers to use public transport. The city centre is a compact but complex area, and has its own emerging area action plan, concentrating on such issues as potential development sites, phasing and the relationship with adjacent communities. The council has also been involved with Priority Sites, a joint venture between the Royal Bank of Scotland and English Partnerships. Priority Sites acts as a developer, but is not bound by a normal developer’s need for profit so can specialise in sites no private-sector developer would touch. Much of its work has been on standard business parks, but at Upper Steenberg’s Yard in the Ouseburn Valley it took a different approach as it was in a conservation area.

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“In the Ouseburn Valley design standards are high,” says Firth. “We want high quality, but costs have to come from somewhere. For example, with a Pathfinder housing scheme, funds could go towards helping developers meet the high standards of design or sustainability we want for the city and create exemplar schemes. On council land, or areas that don’t qualify for Pathfinder money, we will consider taking a hit on the capital receipt to get high standards, such as Lifetime Homes or BREEAM ‘excellent’ rating. “The new local development framework will include clear policies setting out what will be required of the design and sustainability for schemes to gain planning permission. These issues are now seen as an essential requirement for new developments, not simply desirable extras that can be bolted on at a late stage in the process. If there are any financial implications then we have to be creative in how this ‘gap’ is funded.” I

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Haymarket Hub Newcastle upon Tyne Start on site May 2007 Developed by Closegate

closegate

Alderman Fenwick's House, 98 -100 Pilgrim Street, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 6SQ 0191 211 2700 info@closegate.com


PROJECTS: CITY CENTRE

City centre Big things are happening in Newcastle city centre. Major developments are planned for the Quayside, Discovery Quarter, central shopping district and the city centre university and college campuses.

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PROJECTS: UNIVERSITIES

Learning curve Newcastle’s educational hubs are upgrading and expanding in line with the city’s regeneration.

NEWCASTLE CITY CENTRE’S higher education college and two universities are vital to the city, both in fostering links with local businesses and industry and for the diversity and vitality the vibrant student community adds to the city. At Newcastle College, a total of £120 million has been invested in creating a unique learning environment, considerably expanding the Rye Hill campus over the past two years: the Performance Academy opened in 2005, the Lifestyle Academy in September 2006, and the renovation and expansion of Rye Hill House is set for completion by spring 2007. The academies provide hands-on training for students studying vocational subjects such as music and performing arts, hairdressing and beauty, or hospitality and catering. The Chefs’ Academy, staffed by students, has proved a great success. The 30-seater fine dining restaurant offers spectacular views and great food, according to James Earl, marketing assistant at the college. “It’s up there with the best of Newcastle’s restaurants, only cheaper.” “Many of the subjects we offer can’t really be taught in a classroom,” continues Earl. “The academy offers a great way for students to learn and integrate into the workforce. It is such a

Left, top: How Newcastle University’s campus for Ageing and Vitality looked in 2004. Left, below: The campus in 2012, once development is complete.

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Right: Newcastle College’s Lifestyle Academy. Below: Northumbria University’s new City Campus East is due for completion this summer.

different learning environment – not at all like a school.” The final project, completing phase one of the college’s comprehensive regeneration plans, entails the renovation of the campus’s derelict Rye Hill House, complementing it with a wraparound building providing substantially increased office space. Northumbria University’s £100 million expansion plans are focused on creating a brand new campus. The university’s largest-ever investment programme will provide 24,000sq m of up-to-the-minute teaching, research and conference space on a 3ha site, known as City Campus East, next to the main university campus. A 95m state-of-the-art footbridge will span the main road running between the sites linking the new campus to the city. City Campus East will be complete by July, ready for the new academic year, accommodating the law, design and business schools. The faculties were chosen for their potential future growth, strong student demand and space constraints on the current operation of the faculty. Vice chancellor Kel Fidler says: “It is vital to establish the city centre campus as our international headquarters. Three thousand of our students come from overseas, and make a major contribution to the cultural and economic vibrancy of the city. As we expect an additional 3,000 full-time students over the next five years, there is an urgent need for more space for core teaching activities.” Additional improvements include upgrading and improving existing buildings, pedestrianising a large chunk of the city campus, landscaping Ellison Courtyard and refurbishing City Campus West, the existing campus. Newcastle University’s Campus for Ageing and Vitality on the site of Newcastle General Hospital was set up to encourage people from different disciplines to work together, and bring together the practice and study of medicine. It’s a key component of 22

Newcastle Science City, together with the former Tyne brewery site and the International Centre for Life. Since the Institute for Ageing and Health was established in 1994 its headquarters at the campus for Ageing and Vitality has been growing steadily. The former maternity unit was refurbished to provide the Wolfson Research Centre, an age-related clinical research and activities facility, and in 2004 the Henry Wellcome laboratory for biogerontology research was established to study molecular and cellular biology. The Magnetic Resonance Centre

opened last year and plans for further development include the Edwardson building, to replace the ugly and cramped Medical Research Centre. The new building, which should be complete by the end of the year, will be bigger, with enhanced facilities and additional elements such as the ‘aged mice colony’ and Newcastle ‘brain bank’. The Clinical Ageing Research Unit (CARU), funded by the Welcome Trust and due for completion in 2008, will specialise in ‘bench to bedside’ research into older people. Cutting-edge facilities will incorporate special features to ensure


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PROJECTS: UNIVERSITIES

The colleges are vital to the city’s businesses and industry

This page: State-ofthe-art facilities at Newcastle College’s new academies.

it is easily accessed by the elderly. Plans are also being developed for a translational research facility, described by Graham Armitage, programme director at the Campus for Ageing and Vitality, as “a truly multi-disciplinary building”. With additional clinical research space, laboratories and office space, it will increase the level and quality of knowledge transferred to businesses and provide greater potential to attract private sector involvement. “The institute’s USP is the mix of scientists, clinicians and business people working together to deliver a real impact

to the health of older people,” says Armitage. “The aim is to take basic scientific research right through the clinical application to industry in a bid to get new scientific discoveries benefiting older people as quickly as possible.” The link between scientists and business was further strengthened by the establishment of Newcastle University’s Faculty of Medical Science’s incubator suite last October. The first of its kind in the North East, the development of this space for start-up businesses which could benefit from access to research facilities

was a conscious decision on behalf of the university to form strong links between academics and businesses. It appears to have worked: the four laboratories were booked up before construction had been completed. Michael Whitaker, the dean of development at the Faculty of Medical Science, says: “Funding for the £900,000 refurbishment from One North East has enabled us to realise our aspirations under the Science City banner. It will prove to be cost effective for the life sciences businesses as it gives them access to facilities and knowledge.” I 23


Responsible Regeneration At Capital Shopping Centres we believe in long term investment - as we have demonstrated in our partnership with Newcastle City Council. For over thirty years, we have worked succesfully together to maintain the City’s position as one of the country’s top ten shopping destinations. We are a company that takes our responsibilities very seriously. Through our ongoing programme of modernising and remodelling, we aim to provide better facilities, better shopping and more job opportunities. And we do this responsibly so that the whole community benefits, striving to create the best environment, using solutions that will be as good tomorrow as they are today. Capital Shopping Centres - working for a better tomorrow.

40 Broadway, London SW1H 0BU T: 020 7887 4220 F: 020 7887 4225 www.capital-shopping-centres.co.uk


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PROJECTS: CORE AREA

Shopping central Newcastle city centre is a shopper’s paradise – with its abundance of department stores, boutiques and high street shops combined with great public transport facilities – and things are only set to improve.

The central core is well served by public transport.

ELDON SQUARE IS SLAP BANG IN the middle of the city. One of the UK’s first shopping centres, it opened in 1976 and has consistently been one of the country’s leading retail centres. Currently undergoing a £170 million refurbishment and partial redevelopment, the mall will soon benefit from a brand new bus station and more than 29,700sq m of extra retail space, as well as the redesign of Old Eldon Square making it a focal point for the centre.

The refurbishment is being achieved in three main phases. The remodelled section of the mall, including two restaurants and seven new shops along Blackettbridge, is already complete. Wagamama and Strada opened at the end of 2006, providing alfresco eating in the soon-to-be relandscaped public realm. The £500,000 transformation of the square itself will see the 3,000sq m plot established as the focal point of the city. Old Eldon Square, built in 1825, will » 25


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Right, top: Eldon Square’s Southern Gateway. Right, below: The completed refurbishment of Blackettbridge.

be revitalised via a new café culture and the illumination of trees and walkways connecting the north and south areas of the shopping centre. The city’s principal war memorial will be floodlit, reinforcing its place as the centrepiece of the square. A state-of-the-art bus station on Prudhoe Street will open in the spring, offering a modern, glass concourse with travel information and modern toilet facilities, far more customer- and environmentally-friendly than the old subterranean bus station. Kay Chaldecott, managing director of Capital Shopping Centres (CSC), says: “Approximately 72% of visitors arrive at Eldon Square on foot or by public transport. As the new bus station will become a busy entrance to the scheme, it is important that it is well designed to meet shoppers’ requirements.” The redevelopment of the Southern Gateway will provide more than 39,000sq m of much-needed space. Debenhams will anchor the extension (occupying more than 16,000sq m over four storeys), 30 large additional retail units will be created in response to retailer demands for flagship stores in Eldon Square, and the Greenmarket will also be upgraded. It is hoped work on the site will start this year for completion in autumn 2009. “The new southern gateway will inject a considerable amount of daylight into the building,” says Chaldecott. “When it was built, Eldon Square was based on American mall designs of the time, which primarily meant keeping the interior dark so the shop fronts could shine out. People now want to see shop fronts shining out in a light and bright environment.” James Cons, director of Leslie Jones Architects, adds: “The double-height space will be naturally lit by a series of individual roof lights. The extension will offer a vast improvement: a quantum leap from the existing condition, where space is tight and shops poorly 26

Eldon Square’s extension will offer a quantum leap

configured. The new units will be of a size and shape that meet the requirements of modern retailers.” When planning the scheme CSC was able to draw both on its extensive refurbishment experiences (the company has 11 other shopping centres in the UK) and from consultation with focus groups and shoppers to ascertain what kind of changes they wanted to see. Chaldecott says: “People wanted a light, airy, easy-to-navigate space with spacious toilets and parent care areas. Customers also specified they wanted another department store. “We also consulted retailers who primarily require larger format units for flagship stores and the new floor plates will be able to deliver this. Eldon Square attracts 25 million shoppers each year and the planned developments will accommodate the requirements of both shoppers and retailers.” The regeneration of the city centre is an ongoing process, according to Peter Howe of Newcastle City Council. As part of a city council planning exercise it is examining the regeneration potential of a sizable area of land and buildings around Pilgrim Street. Howe describes it as “a historic area with considerable


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PROJECTS: CORE AREA

potential for retail and mixed-use redevelopment”, so watch this space! Nexus has been looking at redeveloping Haymarket Metro station for the past 10 years, and a partnership with Closegate Developments has finally brought the plans to fruition. The onestorey building is currently lost among the surrounding buildings, something that will be addressed by the proposed four-storey landmark replacement. The £20 million ‘Haymarket Hub’ will provide an upgraded Metro concourse and more than 6,000sq m of office and leisure space, with spectacular views from the upper floors and scenic lifts. It is hoped the addition of bars, restaurants, shops and office space will bring activity, vibrancy and vitality to the city’s Northern Gateway area for the 120,000 passengers who pass through the 25-year-old station each week. With its new colours and signage, the station will act as a prototype for future city centre stations, all being considered by Nexus for upgrade as part of the Metro reinvigoration programme. Services will run as normal throughout the 18-month build process, which will see the current building demolished, platforms refurbished and a third escalator

installed. Work should start in the spring and be complete by October 2008 with minimal inconvenience to passengers. Ken Hunt, director at Closegate Developers, says: “It is a very prominent location. Haymarket Hub will be a very substantial, modern building constructed from steel and glass, which should attract lots of interest. Glass was used to create a very light building and also because it is a modern material – our objective was to create a modern station.” “It is a very complex site,” explains Hugh Lewis, head of Nexus’s media and external relations department. “We had to look carefully for viable designs that fulfilled the criteria for providing an impressive building while meeting the engineering complexities of the site. “We had to make sure the design was practical as well as desirable. It is a confined, busy city centre site, with two railway tunnels immediately underneath it with trains running every three minutes – which presents certain engineering challenges. Haymarket Hub will provide a very distinct, eye-catching building with a completely remodelled concourse on a landmark site at a major transport intersection on one of the busiest shopping streets in the UK.” I

Top and above: Plans for Haymarket Hub, which will accommodate the Haymarket Metro station.

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PROJECTS: DISCOVERY QUARTER

City focus The impending development of several major sites will establish the Discovery Quarter as an integral part of the city centre. THE 95HA DISCOVERY QUARTER runs from St James’s Park football stadium in the north, down to the River Tyne at the south, forming an important transitional area between the city to the east and the residential neighbourhoods to the west. Home to some of the city’s major leisure attractions, it accommodates St James’s Park, the New Tyne Theatre, the International Centre for Life and the award-winning Discovery Museum, the area’s namesake and one of the North East’s most popular attractions. In 2004 Newcastle City Council and One NorthEast commissioned Colin Buchanan to prepare a framework and development strategy for the area. The study emphasised the need to invest in key infrastructure and public realm projects, to integrate the site with neighbouring communities, and to improve access and enhance the pedestrian environment. As a very large, very central site the Discovery Quarter has great potential to act as a major economic and social driver for the regeneration of Newcastle. Many of the industrial companies that dominated the quarter have relocated leaving prime development sites in their wake. The largest of these sites is the 8ha former Tyne Brewery site. Purchased by Newcastle City Council and partners

One NorthEast and Newcastle University, it will become the hub for Newcastle’s Science City framework, providing a major science-business collaborative initiative focusing on nanotechnology, stem cell research, bioscience and molecular engineering. It is hoped the development will put the city and the region at the forefront of science commercialisation, providing a catalyst for major business development and job creation. Sarah Stewart, director of Newcastle Science City, says: “The Newcastle Science City partnership aims to transform the brewery site into a landmark for Science City. The overriding objective is to create an environment where science and business can work together in a group of facilities designed to rival anywhere in the world. The brewery site is integral to achieving this.” The EDAW consortium developing the vision and masterplans for science city includes property expert King Sturge, transport and highways specialist WSP and architect Hopkins and Partners. Sir Michael Hopkins will be personally involved in advising on the architectural content of the brewery site masterplan, as will urban planner and community consultation facilitator Kevin Murray and Professor Stuart Gulliver of Glasgow University.

Top: Aerial shot of the former brewery site. Above: The Discovery Quarter has a prime central location

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Left: St James’s Boulevard, site of much development. Right: Terrace Hill’s Time Central development in Gallowgate is just minutes’ walk from the city centre.

A survey of the local community’s aspirations for the former brewery site, conducted in 2005 by Beyond Green Consultancy, set out the essential principles as excellence in design, sustainability and green issues. “These are all things we very much agree with,” says Andy Spracklen of EDAW. “The one suggestion that really resonated was that the project should be ‘intrinsically Newcastle’. “This is a fabulous city with a lot going for it and we want to build on that. It is vital that the brewery site becomes an extension of the city centre, providing a cutting-edge solution to the integration of academic and commercial spin-offs as an intrinsic part of the city fabric. A lot of science developments end up as business parks on the fringe of the city: we want Newcastle’s Science City focus to be an integrated mixed-use quarter in the heart of the city, which will be quite unique.” Part of the site will be set aside for scientific research, something EDAW is factoring into the masterplan. Spracklen explains: “We are keen to create an environment conducive to generating ideas. It is important to achieve an integrated quarter with shops, leisure and cultural aspects. We must recognise that these elements are just as important for exchanging knowledge and expertise as laboratories and lecture halls.” “The brewery site will create a cityfocused technology transfer programme,” explains Joe Place of Newcastle Science City. “We aim to build a critical mass of expertise. Business support will be available for growing companies, building up the capacity of industries to engage business, alongside a schools-based education programme.” 30

Although the brewery site will form the hub of Science City, other sites such as the Newcastle general hospital site, Newcastle University’s city centre campus and the Discovery Quarter’s International Centre for Life will be closely linked to the project. EDAW’s brief includes considering the link between these components as well as improving connections between the site, the city centre and residential areas. Accessibility and circulation are major issues for the development of the Discovery Quarter, as although it is within walking distance of the town centre and has two metro stations it is not particularly pedestrian-friendly. Tom Quigley, regeneration manager at Newcastle City Council, explains: “The brewery site has historically been a barrier to pedestrian movement. As private land it was fenced off, so knitting the site back into the city is vital.” The creation of St James’s Boulevard in 1996 established a primary link between the Discovery Quarter and the city centre, and it too has attracted several major development projects. The burgeoning number of developments in Gallowgate at the northern end of the boulevard is testament to the area’s growing success. Tim Evans of Knight Frank comments: “This area has been critical in sustaining one of the best office markets in Newcastle in the past decade. With rents in the city of Newcastle now breaking the £20 per sq ft barrier, we can see our rental growth matching the rent levels of other major cities including Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester.” Trailblazer Hanro led the way with its 17,000sq m Citygate office building on the site of the old coach station. The »


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PROJECTS: DISCOVERY QUARTER

Newcastle’s Science City focus will be an integrated mixed-use quarter in the heart of the city

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Left: The former Tyne Brewery site will become the hub of Newcastle’s Science City framework.

company is now developing a £55 million scheme to provide 12,000sq m of office space and a 160bed hotel on Strawberry Place. Now, Gallowgate’s Wellbar House, a 1960s office block, is being transformed into a state-of-the-art 11-storey office block by Moonglade Holdings, and Terrace Hill’s flagship Time Central development on the corner of Gallowgate and Strawberry Lane is expected to be complete by the end of the year. The £12 million project 32

is on a prime site close to St James’s Metro station and only a few minutes’ walk from the city centre. Its top three floors will be occupied by law firm Robert Muckle, while the remainder of the building has been acquired by stockbroking firm Wise Speke. Additional development opportunities are focused on the riverfront and Blandford Square. The 1.5ha site fronts St James’s Boulevard and lies adjacent to the Discovery Museum – one of the

region’s major tourist attractions. Identified by Newcastle City Council as a site for comprehensive redevelopment, two thirds of the land is owned by the council. Current expectations are for a mixed-use scheme and public square. Several large plots are ripe for development along the riverside, such as the prominent Sink Row workshops and Calders site. Bellway Homes is currently negotiating a potential residential scheme for the prominent Calders site. I


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PROJECTS: QUAYSIDE

Quay to the city Newcastle is proud of its reputation as a party city. The Quayside is where it all happens, and where regeneration is still going strong.

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Top and above: Trinity Gardens

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SAVVY LOCALS AND VISITORS looking for a good time head for the regenerated area along the north bank of the River Tyne where an abundance of bars, restaurants and clubs provide the perfect destination for anyone wanting to let their hair down. It has plenty to offer during the day, too, with good quality riverside restaurants and vistas of the Millennium Bridge and statuesque Baltic contemporary art museum on the south bank. The regeneration of the previously industrial Quayside started in earnest in the mid/late 1980s and it is now firmly established as a popular, contemporary riverside location. The area’s transformation even provided the impetus for the stunning new pedestrian bridge across the Tyne. A comprehensive mixed-use site, the Quayside offers offices and residential accommodation alongside the bars and restaurants, with a pedestrianised waterfront space and landscaped urban areas dotted with modern artworks. Public art played a significant role in the Quayside’s renaissance. Often referring to the area’s maritime or industrial history, the striking sculptures lining the waterfront range from the prominent 7.6m-tall Blacksmiths Needle, created by members of the British Association of Blacksmiths Artists, to the Tributary, by John Maine, which traces the course of the Lort Burn out into the Tyne via

granite paving marking the four stages of the burn as it runs along its course. Now, the area’s renaissance is almost complete: the latest development being the £55 million Trinity Gardens mixeduse scheme, referred to by developer Silverlink as “a small portion of city life in its own right”. The site has 52 luxury one- and twobedroom apartments, an 81-bed extension to the existing 220-bed Travelodge hotel, 11,000sq m of office space within 1 Trinity Gardens, as well as a car park, restaurant and shops. The flagship development has proved


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PROJECTS: QUAYSIDE

The previously industrial Quayside is now established as a contemporary location popular, with all the apartments sold offplan before construction was complete. The quality office space is almost all fully let (the majority to leading local law firm Dickinson Dees) and the retail units are all let and fully operational. The focal point of the development is Trinity Place, which forms a central square, giving the area a sense of community. At the heart of the square is another piece of art: an award-winning sculpture by Peter Randall-Page. Part of Newcastle’s ‘Hidden Rivers’ project, acknowledging the rivers and burns running beneath the city, Give and Take’s

30 tonnes of glacial granite is seated on a cobbled base evocative of a riverbed. “We see the role of art and design as an important investment,” says Michelle Percy, of Silverlink. “By establishing a combined design and project team from the outset it means art and public space are not afterthoughts, but designed as an integral part of the development.” The final phase of the scheme was the installation of a dramatic lighting project. The joint venture between Silverlink and Newcastle City Council marks out the historical landmarks surrounding the site. The 18th century All Saints Church, one

of only three elliptical churches in the country, can now be admired after dark, as can a section of the original city walls, previously inaccessible, revealed during the development. Work will start this year on the last remaining development plot at the eastern end of the Quayside. Imperial Quay, developed by AWG and Shepherd Developments, will consist of two separate elements – a 10-storey office block along the north and eastern boundaries of the site and an 11-storey residential tower. A terraced plaza lined with restaurants and cafes will link the two buildings and grand staircases will lead to additional public spaces along City Road and the Quayside. The landmark scheme will incorporate 234 parking spaces in a five-level multistorey car park, 9,000sq m of office accommodation, 1,400sq m of restaurant space and 61 residential units in the landmark tower, which offers one- and two-bedroom accommodation overlooking the landscaped riverside promenade. According to site owner, regional development agency One NorthEast, the plot offers a high point on the Quayside’s masterplan. The agency worked closely with Newcastle City Council to select the appropriate scheme for the plot – dependent on its quality, price and response to the brief – to maintain and continue the development of the Quayside area. “It was imperative that the site was developed accordingly,” Phil Calvert of one NorthEast explains. “The plan provides a comprehensive interface between the commercial development to the west end of the Quayside and the residential area to the east. The mixeduse site will draw activity towards the eastern end and enable public access from the Quayside up onto City Road level.” I

Left: The mixed-use Imperial Quay development will complete the regeneration of the Quayside.

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PROJECTS: GREATER NEWCASTLE

Greater Newcastle The residential districts to the north, east and west of Newcastle city centre are being comprehensively transformed. The development projects are not simply focusing on creating new housing, public realm and community facilities – the emphasis is on turning around the neighbourhood’s fortunes, image and reputation.xxx »

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The residential district of Walker Riverside is the site of a £450 million regeneration scheme that will revitalise the run-down neighbourhood over the next decade, transforming it into a sustainable neighbourhood the community can be proud of.

Tides of change

Top left: Existing housing at Walker Riverside. Top right: New houses on the Cambrian Estate, completed early this year.

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WALKER RIVERSIDE’S LONG-TERM regeneration plan – undertaken by a partnership between Places for People, Newcastle City Council and Bridging NewcastleGateshead – will see 1,780 new homes built alongside new business units, shops, vastly improved community facilities, better transport links and reinvigorated public space. According to Helen Golightly, the council’s corporate project manager for the area, Walker Riverside was in need of a renaissance: “Over the next 10-15 years we plan to gradually improve the local environment, housing, shops, transport, education and health services to make Walker a vibrant local economy and location of choice for families to live, stay and work, now and in the future.” Emphasis has been placed on community involvement at all levels of the programme, with regular focus groups held to consult residents over future proposals and ascertain their views on the minutia of the designs. The Walker and Riverside Community Network has been highly involved in each phase of the development, and after much discussion the residents are now seeing some of the results of the ambitious plans. The first stage of the redevelopment

was construction of the Cambrian Estate, the first phase of which – comprising 29 homes for rent – was completed at the start of 2007. The ongoing project will see a total of 143 properties built by 2010. Golightly claims: “We’ve had a very positive reaction to the properties completed so far. A lot of work was put into consultation with the community to check the key issues before construction started.” Places for People’s Peter Aviston agrees: “We’ve seen a healthy demand for the properties. More than 1,500 people visited the show homes and we’ve had extremely positive feedback from the residents who have moved into their new homes. Many have lived on Walker Riverside all their lives and had their previous homes demolished, so are particularly sensitive to the regeneration plans. However they have generally been impressed with the quality and size of the houses.” At the western gateway of Walker Riverside, McCutcheon Court has got planning approval for 107 new homes for sale, shared ownership and rent. Phase one should be on site by March and the first units for sale by the end of 2007. A number of retail units will be created during phase one of McCutcheon Court. It is hoped that one will become the regeneration centre for the area occupied by Places for People and Newcastle City Council, offering the


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PROJECTS: WALKER RIVERSIDE

first point of contact for residents on the regeneration of their area. “It will provide a great opportunity to bring project officers on site,” Aviston enthuses. “We’ve got to get them out there, so they can have first-hand experience of the area and be available to speak to people at short notice.” The regeneration of the area is also focused on revamping community facilities, essential for a residential area to thrive. A new school for the area is a council priority, as part of the school improvement programme, with early plans to merge two local schools on a new site. The intention is to relocate and group together some of the facilities to provide a more central resource, but only through discussion with the community will the best site be identified for such buildings. Aviston adds: “Getting the facilities right is imperative, and doing so will have a positive effect on all Walker residents both young and old.” Community consultation is set to start again in May to discuss how the community-based elements of the regeneration plan will come together to offer schools, retail, leisure, public realm, commercial and health facilities at the heart of Walker Riverside. A large scale, three-day planning event in May will bring together the regeneration partners, developers, architects and the

community. Aviston explains: “The event offers residents the opportunity to sit down with the architects, who will have pens and paper with them, to properly discuss how the buildings and the community will relate to each other. Forums such as this are usually well attended and benefit from significant community input. A public exhibition of the findings will be showcased locally afterwards.” The area has several large, but currently unused, public spaces which have great potential. The partnership is looking at how best to link the neighbourhood via the various sites, and maximise the riverside location. Plans include a green corridor linking Walker and Riverside Park as well as play facilities, cycle paths and walkways. Early in 2007 an event was held to find out what young people thought of the ideas and what they wanted to see in their area. These youngsters, often not consulted on such important matters, were enticed to the event by putting remote-controlled cars, trampolines and DJ workshop sessions on offer. The need for a sustainable community, and thus the imperative of creating jobs in the neighbourhood, is one of the partnership’s main concerns. Golightly explains: “Encouraging new businesses to the area is one of our major issues. We are keen to create a sustainable community, which means providing comprehensive environmental and economic elements.” Construction is already under way on a 300sq m mixed work space on Fisher Road for small to medium businesses, due for completion by late 2007. Walker obviously has what it takes for business to flourish: three wellestablished local businesses are already planning expansions, after experiencing significant growth recently and an 80strong increase to the workforce. It seems the regeneration plans are having the desired effect already. I

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Valley of ventures The scenic Ouseburn Valley is becoming the hub of Newcastle’s creative businesses.

Top: Computergenerated images of the former Allan House building, soon to become the Hotel du Vin.

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SINCE THE LOWER OUSEBURN Valley Regeneration Strategy was launched in 1999, with the vision of creating a new, sustainable urban village, the valley has started a dramatic transformation process. It has already attracted numerous small businesses, particularly from the cultural and media sectors, to this unique and quirky part of the city. The latest example of the cultural expansion of the Ouseburn Valley is the Star and Shadow cinema. The cinema, which opened in November last year, is run by a group of like-minded volunteers who previously ran a similar venture at the Side Cinema near the Quayside area. When their lease was terminated they started looking for an alternative location, and the former Tyne Tees warehouse suggested by the council fitted all their requirements. Several consultation meetings were held with local residents during the planning stages of the conversion,

according to Christo Wallers of the Star and Shadow. The majority of local concerns were about noise and parking, which were allayed once residents were assured that comprehensive soundproofing would be installed. The volunteer-led group prides itself on its alternative approach, which extended to its build programme. While unconventional, it proved very effective. Building started in style in April 2006 with a two-week ‘building festival’, with more than 150 volunteers giving their time and expertise to transform the former Tyne Tees building into a cinema. During these two weeks the bulk of the preparatory work was done: rendering walls, putting in new ceilings, building interior walls and installing flooring as well as extensive soundproofing. “We prefer the home-made environment and DIY approach,” says Wallers. “The only thing we had to get contractors in for was the electrics. All you need is plenty of enthusiasm and


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PROJECTS: OUSEBURN VALLEY volunteers. Although people came from across Europe the majority of our volunteers were local people. “Everyone in the valley has been really kind. Local businesses were supportive during the build, the local timber merchant was great, we had excellent help from Ouseburn architect Xsite and the guy who set up the cinema’s website lives about 50 metres from our door.” The 70-seater cinema has a bar and café plus exhibition space. In keeping with the group’s alternative thinking, the cinema will not be showing mainstream blockbusters, focusing instead on experimental, classic and independent films. Wallers explains: “We want to encourage local residents to get involved in the cinema. At the Star and Shadow the programme grows organically and is shaped by our audience. We’re keen to put together a film programme for local residents, particularly the older generation. “We’re also looking forward to developing our relationship with local companies – there is quite a cosy group of small businesses here. Although the arty community was not our chief reason for choosing this location it is nice to be a part of it, and the area also has great transport links, which is a real bonus.” Another, slightly more mainstream, business moving into the Ouseburn Valley is the prestigious boutique Hotel du Vin, part of a chain famed for its stylish conversions of historic buildings. The site for the hotel is the historic Allan House building on City Road, probably better known as the former Tyne Tees Shipping Company building. The striking red-brick building will be transformed into a 42-bedroom hotel, with New York loft-style suites in the roof spaces and an 80-seat bistro. Hotel du Vin’s chief executive Robert Cook hopes the hotel will be open for business in early 2008. “It’s a building I’ve admired for many years,” he says. “I like the architecture. I used to live along St Peter’s basin and walked past it regularly. It is a prominent building in an area of regeneration. The building sold it to me. The area may be a little off pitch but I like taking the opposite tracks to everyone else.” The £8 million plans for the hotel will include a large glass façade along the eastern end of the building, which Cook

Above and right: Hotel du Vin’s contemporary decor and interior design will breathe new life into the the former Tyne Tees Shipping Company building

Home sweet homes One of the latest developments to be completed in the Ouseburn Valley is St Lawrence Road, where construction of 107 one- and twobedroom apartments and three-bedroom maisonettes was finished ahead of schedule. According to developer S Harrison, the design was inspired by the riverside location, with all apartments enjoying views over the River Tyne (left). Indeed, the development proved a huge success – all the properties were sold off-plan to private investors. The 104 apartments and four city houses at Lime Square, the area’s first major housing development, were similarly snapped up. The scheme has since won best small apartment at the Evening Gazette’s 21st century Living Awards, whose judges were impressed with the good public and community space and the setting – the winning apartment has views of the Tyne’s bridges, Spillers Quay and the Sage. To complete the development an iconic sculpture was unveiled in April last year. Artist Cate Watkinson hopes that the piece, at the gateway to the Ouseburn Valley, will bring the two sides of the valley together. The 3m-tall glass and steel sculpture called “Time to …” was constructed using materials that reflect two of Ouseburn’s oldest industries in celebration of the valley’s industrial past and cultural rebirth

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PROJECTS: OUSEBURN VALLEY

This unique and quirky part of the city has attracted numerous small businesses, particularly from the cultural and media sectors

Above: The volunteerrun Star and Shadow cinema already has a good relationship with local companies.

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likens to a lighthouse. A hot tub in each room in front of the (one-way) glass will allow occupants to enjoy the riverside views in comfort. The lower-level building will be raised to the same height as the main edifice and an internal courtyard will provide the bistro with the perfect place for alfresco eating. Cook believes Newcastle deserves a Hotel du Vin. “It is a city that wills things to succeed,” he says. “The planners and community have been very receptive. It is a superb site and I think it will create some real interest in the area. Malmaison Newcastle is probably our most successful hotel and we feel the city has embraced us.” Priority Sites, a joint venture between the Royal Bank of Scotland and English Partnerships, has planning permission to develop a business park at Upper Steenbergs Yard. The site’s conservation area status meant it needed a tailored design solution, which took some time for architect Mosedale Gillatt to finalise, integrating new and retained buildings.

Although this is a departure for Priority Sites, which previously had created fairly basic business units on brownfield sites, the more design-centred approach seems to work and it is hoped that Priority Sites will use the same approach elsewhere in similar circumstances. Mick Firth, city-wide projects group manager at Newcastle City Council, describes the design for the business cluster scheme. “It is interesting, as it features a number of different buildings of individual designs in keeping with the site, which lends itself to small buildings.” The focus on design quality will have a big influence on two other development sites in Ouseburn. Metnor Properties is about to submit a planning application for phase one of its Portland Road scheme, while Igloo and Priority Sites have been shortlisted for the high profile Lower Steenbergs Yard site and will submit their final schemes shortly. I


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Urban renaissance The council has begun to transform the commercial and residential profile of the city’s west end.

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PROJECTS: WEST NEWCASTLE

FOR THE PAST 40 YEARS, SINCE the decline of heavy industry in the North East, the west end of Newcastle has faced challenges, with little commercial industry, high levels of unemployment and a poor reputation. Over the coming years this is set to change through a number of innovative projects which will regenerate this once thriving part of the city. Initiatives such as the Benwell and Scotswood area action plan (AAP) – dubbed the West Newcastle project – the Scotswood Expo, the Excelsior Academy, the redevelopment of Cruddas Park and the development of Loadman Street as a mixed use site are on course to transform the commercial and residential profile of the area, bringing it in-line with the rest of the city. Over the next 15 years, the West Newcastle AAP will aim to make West Newcastle a more vibrant, cultural and exciting place to live, via 12 objectives, including: enhancing the heritage of the area; increasing job prospects; providing

a wider choice of housing; creating safer neighbourhoods; and improving transport infrastructure. Throughout the lifetime of the AAP, it is anticipated that investment will exceed £600 million. The AAP has been led by Newcastle City Council and housing market renewal pathfinder Bridging NewcastleGateshead (BNG). Consultation by the West Newcastle planning consortium, managed by masterplanner EDAW, encouraged local people to express their views on the future of the area, and included ‘One Big Week’ of community events. Feedback from the consultation, which ended in January 2007, was used to develop a plan with preferred options for the area, which was issued for public consultation in November 2006 and programmed for adoption in spring 2009. The option chosen out of four wideranging choices was ‘transformation’, which is also the most appropriate and achievable for private and public investment. It promotes the idea of challenging the current preconceptions that people have about the area and, in doing so, attracting families and first-time buyers, as well as nurturing and retaining West Newcastle’s strong community spirit. Neil Wilkinson, senior regeneration

»

Far left: Urban Initiatives’ masterplan of Scotswood Expo. Near left: Elswick, a major development opportunity

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The sheer size and scope of West Newcastle make it a premium site

officer at Newcastle City Council who is leading on the AAP, said: “West Newcastle represents one of the most exciting development opportunities in the UK: the sheer size and scope of the area make this a premium site. We anticipate significant commercial interest and are looking to partner creative, innovative developers who can convert the area’s investment potential into reallife opportunities for residents and businesses.” TERMED THE ‘RENAISSANCE OF the urban neighbourhood’, Scotswood Expo will be the focus of a comprehensive, housing-led regeneration development on a 65ha site which could see the development of 1,800 new homes, retail, leisure, commercial and community facilities. Significant planning and consultation work has already been completed and a masterplan prepared by design consultant 46

Urban Initiatives and regeneration property consultant King Sturge, is seeking to set new standards of development as an international exemplar of neighbourhood regeneration. Located in the heart of the AAP area, an outline planning application for the expo and wider masterplan development will be submitted in March 2007. As the name suggests, a major part of the expo is the hosting of a series of events and cultural programmes, culminating in a major festival in 2010 as part of the first phase of development. The programme will promote international ideas and approaches to urban living, and demonstrate new standards of neighbourhood planning, design and construction. Equally, issues such as affordability, environmental and social sustainability are key factors. The expo will have both populist appeal – through features such as an ideal homes

exhibition, a fun day out for the family and a series of stimulating events – as well as intellectual/professional appeal, by challenging the established processes and practices of neighbourhood-making. Daniel Hill of Urban Initiatives explained: “The key challenge facing UK cities is the recent increase in one- and two-bedroom city centre apartments. They appeal to single people and couples who are attracted to urban living but, once they have children, are forced to move out of the city as there is no appropriate accommodation. We want to attract these families to West Newcastle and the expo is the first step towards doing that. “The site will offer predominantly family-oriented accommodation just 7km from the city centre. In order to attract new families we have to offer something special – larger unit sizes, a true mix of housing, local amenities within walking distance and good local transport.”


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Newcastle City Council has now started procuring a development partner for the expo. It is anticipated that the partner selected will bring forward development across the whole Scotswood Masterplan site. Alan Sears, project manager for the expo at the city council, said: “The Scotswood Expo is a truly exciting project for Newcastle and the country as a whole, as this will be the first British expo of its kind. Currently, we are looking for a development partner who, like us, has the ambition, expertise and vision to take forward the expo’s plans.” Bridging NewcastleGateshead (BNG) has committed preliminary funding of £3 million to support the initial development of the project and the city council has substantially assembled the site. Newcastle City Council and BNG are working closely with its partners – which include English Partnerships, the Housing Corporation and the regional development agency One NorthEast – to bring forward the scheme. Indicative financial modelling of the Scotswood Masterplan reveals that the total development cost of the scheme could be around £300 million. This will be funded substantially by the private sector, but the public sector will also invest to bring forward the expo event programme and festival and to ensure that high standards are achieved. DUE TO OPEN IN SEPTEMBER 2008, construction of the Excelsior Academy has now begun on Norland Road in Scotswood. The £38.2 million investment, funded by the Department for Education and Skills and sponsor Lord Laidlaw, will address educational achievement and increase the skills and job opportunities for local people. An executive principal has recently been appointed and will join the academy team from April 2007. Work is under way on the curriculum and the transition arrangements for staff and students who will be transferred from West Gate Community College. The academy will accommodate four ‘schools within a school’ for 11-16 year olds, each with a separate entrance and built around a separate courtyard, with a sixth form wing with places for 300 students.

As the site is sloping, the building is tiered to take advantage of the views south across the river. Sports fields are on the upper half of the site and the building is on the lower half of the site. IN SEPTEMBER 2004, REGIONAL architect Llewelyn Davies Yeang was jointly commissioned by Newcastle New Deal for Communities, Bridging NewcastleGateshead and Newcastle City Council to provide an inspirational vision and framework for the regeneration of the Elswick area of West Newcastle. As a result of the architect’s work, the Loadman Street site in Elswick was identified as a major development opportunity in the south west of the area which would act as a catalyst for regeneration. A detailed development brief is being produced to demonstrate how around 150 new dwellings, alongside 6,500sq m of floorspace for B1 and B8 commercial property uses, could be developed on the site. Providing much needed quality mixedtenure family housing within a sustainable community integrated with high quality business accommodation, the site will kick-start physical regeneration, achieving housing market renewal and transforming perceptions of the area across the city and wider region. The development will look to set a new benchmark in terms of design, layout and quality public open spaces. ONE OF NEWCASTLE’S MOST iconic residential sites, Cruddas Park has,

Left: Excelsior Academy in Scotswood. Above: Benwell Scotswood AAP

for decades, been blighted with problems typical of estates of this type. Built in the late 1950s and early 1960s as part of T Dan Smith’s grand plan for the city, the estate of 11 multi-storey apartment blocks comprises 1,000 oneand two-bedroom apartments and a neighbourhood shopping centre. Approximately 800m west of the city centre and Newcastle Central railway station, it occupies a key position at the Western gateway of the city. Overlooking the River Tyne, it is also within close proximity to the major road network, including the A1. Llewelyn Davies Yeang has proposed that Cruddas Park could become the commercial heart of Elswick. In order for it to have a sustainable future, however, an extensive regeneration and renewal programme must be put in place to deliver a lively and vibrant community back into this area of Newcastle. A partnership of public and private sector organisations is being set up to deliver a renewal and regeneration programme, and development partners are in the process of being appointed. The development partner will join the partnership to deliver the private housing and shopping centre regeneration projects that are essential to the area’s survival. Significant funding is expected from Bridging NewcastleGateshead and Newcastle New Deal for Communities, alongside investment from Your Homes Newcastle, to ensure that the regeneration approach at Cruddas Park succeeds. I 47


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Design rules Newcastle’s famous Byker Estate was created by Ralph Erskine in the 1970s, and has recently been listed as grade II*. However, the redevelopment of the rest of Byker was never actually finished, something now being rectified.

Above: A typical property within Erskine’s Byker Estate

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A DESIGN COMPETITION funded by Bridging NewcastleGateshead and supported by Newcastle City Council and Your Homes Newcastle was launched in 2004 to find design ideas for the regeneration of two sites at the southern end of the Byker Estate, South Byker and St Lawrence Square. Bridging NewcastleGateshead’s director Anne Mulroy described the process as an “innovative and exciting approach to regeneration”, with entries judged on deliverability, community involvement and environmental sustainability by a panel of residents, designers, CABE and city councillors. “We’re looking to provide sustainable housing in terms of the environmental and construction aspects and also, importantly, creating a sustainable community,” explains Mick Firth, citywide projects group manager at Newcastle City Council. “Sustainability was a key thread running through the design competition for these sites. We are

looking to raise the bar in terms of an exemplar scheme with as many sustainable elements as possible.” Shortlisted architects took part in community workshops to determine which elements of the design were considered a priority. Since Letts Wheeler Architects was announced as the competition winner in May last year, ongoing consultation between the practice and the local community has taken place in an effort to produce a scheme that meets the needs and aspirations of local people. As Andrew Wheeler of Letts Wheeler says: “Initial feedback threw up a few issues such as the scale of the buildings, mixture of accommodation, density of the scheme and preservation of the cycle route, which were addressed and resolved.” The first phase of the redevelopment will focus on the residential site St Lawrence Square, where tenants are in the process of being relocated with the option of moving back into new flats when the scheme is finished. The area is currently dominated by social-rented units and the new properties will provide much needed mixed tenure, with 75% of the properties for sale, some as affordable housing, and the rest for rental. The two terraces of flats currently backing on to the Victorian-style square will be demolished and a pedestrianfriendly ‘home zone’ created, comprising approximately 100 new family homes (with two, three and four bedrooms) and a selection of two-bedroom flats set around the square. “Green space is integral to the masterplan design,” says Wheeler. “We’re hoping to upgrade the park, although we don’t plan to change the nature of it. Because the current housing backs on to the park, rather than facing it, the park


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had become neglected. We intend to turn this around by using the space as a focal point for the development.” If the council finds a developer for the site by the end of the year, construction could start in 2008. The second phase of the design competition will focus on the South Byker plot, currently empty after the housing was demolished in the 1970s in preparation for Erskine’s redevelopment programme, which then never quite made it that far. The new regeneration strategy will bring the area to life with a variety of mixed-tenure family houses. The next phase of the project is currently being developed. The aim is for Your Homes Newcastle to modernise existing housing to the north of the South Byker site, bringing it up to 21st century standards, focusing on improving the sustainability and environmentally friendly elements. Firth claims: “The Byker Estate’s grade II* listing has set the bar quite high for any further

development in the area. It certainly gives us something to aim for. This is a real opportunity to achieve something of the same quality as Byker Wall.” The nearby Lower Steenbergs Yard in the Lower Ouseburn Valley conservation area has also been earmarked for redevelopment and here, again, the process is design-led. The aim of the project is to bring forward a scheme supporting the growth of small businesses, consistent with the aim of creating an urban village in Ouseburn. Firth comments: “This is a key site and a fantastic opportunity for an imaginative design-led regeneration scheme. The emphasis was very much on design rather than finance during the shortlisting process.” Design workshops were held at the start of the year to refine the designs of the two shortlisted companies, Igloo and Priority Sites, both of which Firth claims have “exciting, innovative elements”. I

Above: The Byker Estate was designed to create a sun-trap.

Below: The impressive Byker Wall, part of Ralph Erskine’s groundbreaking original estate design.

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PROJECTS: GREAT PARK

Modern living The self-contained urban village of Newcastle Great Park is somewhere to live, work and play. LESS THAN FIVE KILOMETRES from the city centre, Newcastle Great Park (NGP) is set to become a selfcontained commercial and residential urban development, with hundreds of hectares of parkland, a mix of housing and safe streets, all a few minutes’ walk from work opportunities and public transport routes. It will be one of the region’s largest mixed-used developments. The inspiration for the development came from studies showing there was a lack of larger houses near the city centre, driving people to move out to more rural areas. More than 500 homes are already occupied, and work is in progress on the latest residential area of 320 homes, with tree-lined boulevards, large landscaped gardens and homes with up to 400sq m of living space. When completed in 2018 it will comprise 2,500 homes, its own town 50

centre, school, leisure facilities and more than 45,000sq m of office space, with cutting-edge industrial design. While the design of the residential and commercial development is almost futuristic, the concept of NGP is based on medieval or renaissance town plans. The town centre will marry a traditional village-style centre, integrating national chains and independent retail outlets with the needs of a modern community, such as contemporary health, education and leisure facilities. Richard Snaith, project director for NGP, says: “By blending old and new as well as natural and man-made elements, we have created a vibrant setting with the pacifying elements of wide open parkland, water features and wildlife.” The business park, part of the £10 million investment in infrastructure, will play a vital role in boosting employment in the area, creating an

estimated 16,000 jobs. Software company Sage has located its £60 million North East headquarters in an impressive building overlooking the commercial units and town centre, rather like, perhaps, a citadel in days of old. “By creating a ‘live, work and play’ environment, we are geared to attracting large companies to relocate their businesses to such a strategic location,” says Snaith. “As it is so close to both the A1 and Newcastle International Airport, plus only three miles from Newcastle City Centre, NGP has great appeal on many levels.” The NGP Consortium behind the development’s concept and construction comprises Persimmon Homes and Taylor Woodrow Developments, working in partnership with Newcastle City Council. The Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) has been fully involved in the design process. I


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To meet the needs of our economy and people in the decades to come, the Tyne and Wear Metro needs new investment. Nexus and the Tyne and Wear Passenger Transport Authority have developed a £600m proposal for Metro Re-invigoration over the next 20 years, now submitted to Government. This sets out in detail when investment is needed in our existing network - to modernise stations and trains, to renew our ageing tracks, power lines and other assets, and to replace outdated ticket machines and install ticket barriers at main stations. Re-invigoration is critical to the future of Metro and the region’s economy. Every year we carry more than

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