Newcastle's Forth Yards will be one area in the spotlight. Credit: Hi-track Aerial Photography

Homes England acquires Quayside West

The national housing agency has taken possession of the largest land parcel in Forth Yards, a priority brownfield regeneration site for Newcastle.

Located close to Newcastle Central Station and the Quayside, Forth Yards has the potential to deliver 2,500 new homes and a vibrant, sustainable new neighbourhood for the city.

At the heart of Forth Yards sits Quayside West, a site with capacity for around 1,100 homes and a key role to play in the area’s transformation.

In September last year, administrator FRP Advisory said that a £7m deal was close for the 18-acre plot at the former Calder leadworks site, where consent for 1,100 apartments was granted early in 2022.

Homes England said that like much of the Forth Yards area, the site faces a number of viability challenges, access constraints and infrastructure requirements, all of which have stopped the private sector from bringing it forward.

Public ownership, the body said, will help it to reach its full potential as part of the wider transformation of Forth Yards.

Peter Denton, chief executive of Homes England, said, “It’s hard to overstate the importance of this acquisition. Not only will the site deliver around 1,100 quality, sustainable new homes, but bringing Quayside West into public sector ownership will act as a catalyst for the wider regeneration of Forth Yards, a key regeneration area for the city that has been stalled for more than 20 years.

“It’s a complex, challenging brownfield site that could have a transformational impact in the city, but it needs up-front public sector intervention to unlock its full potential – and this acquisition is one of the first examples of that.

“Newcastle City Council and North of Tyne Combined Authority have a clear vision for Forth Yards, and we’re working with them and Network Rail to take a holistic approach and ensure that it delivers for the people of Newcastle. This will include, if necessary, using our statutory powers to make this happen.”

Homes England said it will continue to collaborate with Newcastle City Council, North of Tyne Combined Authority and Network Rail to drive forward the regeneration of Forth Yards, ensuring a cohesive, comprehensive approach to the whole area rather than piecemeal interventions.

Leader of Newcastle City Council, Cllr Nick Kemp, said: “Quayside West, as part of the Forth Yards site, is an exciting development with huge potential. As a former industrial site, it has been largely hidden away visible only by train as you come into the city. However, all of that is going to change.

“Now that Homes England have acquired the site, we can get on with our partners and create a neighbourhood that is truly world class – sustainable environmentally friendly housing, green open space, walkways, cycleways, and good connectivity to the city centre and with existing communities in the west.

“As a residential-led development it will offer a range of housing including affordable homes that will attract new families, safeguard employment and strengthen the city’s economy in the future.”

North of Tyne Mayor Jamie Driscoll said: “We’re already building 1,985 new homes on brownfield land, with affordable and low-carbon housing.

“Building sustainable, affordable homes on unused wasteland makes a lot of sense. It’s a great way to breathe new life into old industrial sites whilst tackling the housing crisis and protecting our greenbelt.

“The Forth Yards site is a perfect opportunity to ramp up this work. By bringing this site into public ownership we can work together to create more green and affordable homes. And the region’s new devolution deal will mean more funding to explore brownfield sites south of the Tyne, continuing to unlock the North East’s potential.”

Forth Yards is one of the projects to be promoted by the Invest Newcastle presence at MIPIM in March.

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