The development overlooks Leazes Moor. Credit: planning documents

Next step for Castle Leazes

Unite Students and Newcastle University have wasted no time, following up June’s demolition approval with an application to build 2,000 student bedspaces in a £250m project.

With Pegasus Group advising on planning and architect Norr in charge of design, plans have now been submitted to and validated by  Newcastle City Council.

Public engagement has been taking place since mid-2023 on the redevelopment, with the partnership formally agreed in February. Demolition plans were filed in April.

The goal is for the main construction phase to begin in early 2025, with delivery inked in for 2027 and 2028.

Built in 1969, Castle Leazes has in its previous guise provided around 1,250 beds, but Unite and the university believe they can and should up the game with a sustainable student village that will help Newcastle keep to its promise of providing bedspace for first year students, among meeting other needs.

What the partners propose is a two-block development, with each block featuring various wings. This will keep to the footprint of the existing estate, overlooking Leazes Moor.

The legacy buildings range from one storey to three nine-storey blocks, and the proposed heights from Unite are to keep that as the maximum height, but with a more uniform approach across the site – although the blocks will feature parts of four or five storeys, the height is mostly similar.

Southern Green is the landscape architect. Credit: planning documents

Much attention is drawn in the planning documentation to the courtyard and gateway areas, on which landscape architect Southern Green has been engaged.

In the northern block, the total of 1,221 student bedspaces will include 20 accessible rooms. The second building, providing 790 bedspaces, will include accommodation for 302 post-graduates. The total number of bedspaces is 2,011.

Both buildings contain a series of clusters, each comprising an area of shared accommodation of up to 10 bedrooms and a shared kitchen living and dining area. The majority of clusters will include standard bedrooms, however, there will also be separate post-graduate clusters.

The plans can be viewed on Newcastle City Council’s planning portal with the reference 2024/0999/01/EIA.

Your Comments

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I do feel the architect slightly ran out of ideas with this one. It’s not the very best of it’s type and Newcastle needs to be aiming higher for a scheme of this scale. The landscaping also seems a bit sparse from the images provided – surely it would benefit from more soft landscaping, visually and from an ecology point of view.
I appreciate these things aren’t easy but the whole thing just seems a bit average.

By Mike

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