MIchelle Percy promoted inclusive aspiration targets for Forth Yards. Credit: PNE

MIPIM | Forth Yards can be ‘Kings Cross of the North’

Partners set out the ambitious vision for the £725m development next to the Tyne, described by Newcastle City Council’s Michelle Percy as having the potential to emulate London’s exemplary regeneration project.

Forth Yards is a 50-acre residential-led site between Central Station and the river, near Newcastle College, with capacity for 2,500 homes. The public sector partners promoting the site agree it needs to be better than merely “good enough” and instead achieve “world-class” quality to make Newcastle a “magnetic city” that attracts and retains residents.

Speaking on the Newcastle stand at the Cannes property convention, Michelle Percy, director of place, Newcastle City Council, said: “Our opportunity is having a Kings Cross of the North because you’ve got the visibility, you’ve got access, a gateway into the city which in turn unlocks Gateshead Quays. It gives you all of those opportunities, and then it gives you a platform for great development. We like to talk about sticky feet or magnetic cities. The public sector are the only ones that can really bring that forward in a masterplanned way that then comes back to the market for the private sector to add value to it.”

Quayside West to south of development area was acquired by Homes England. Credit: Hi-track Aerial Photography

The site is in multiple ownership with seven different parties involved, not all historically sharing the same ambitious vision for the development. Homes England recently acquired a pivotal chunk of the development area, Quayside West, to try and generate momentum towards delivery of a quality scheme.

Mike Palin, executive director of Homes England, said: “I think many partners have been desiring Homes England to come back to its roots and get back into regeneration. I think the white paper that was issued by the government in 2022 was a signal that Homes England will go back into the regeneration space. There was that signal that we’re going to do 20 Kings Crosses and we’re still not quite there; Forth Yards is one of the most significant regeneration projects in the country.”

The panel was chaired by Stuart Howie, principal and head of regeneration at Avison Young. Also speaking were Cllr Nick Kemp, Labour Leader of Newcastle City Council; Rob Hamilton, head of investment and economic growth at North of Tyne Combined Authority; and Liz Bromley, chief executive of further education group NCG.

Cllr Kemp said: “It’s the greatest opportunity in the whole of the UK development marketplace at this moment in time. I think it’s the opportunity of really reshaping and redefining the whole of our urban core. But equally it’s about doing this inclusively. I represent a ward in the east end of the city, and actually what we need to be doing is we need to be lifting those structural inequalities that exist. This is the type of development that can do that very clearly.”

Talks are ongoing with Homes England, the combined authority and private developers about further funding for site assembly and masterplanning.

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