The venue near St James; will also operate on non-matchdays. Credit: Newcastle United/Digitalcrush

Stack celebrates double planning win

Both the leisure operator’s Newcastle United fan zone and its plans to redevelop the Empress Ballroom in Whitley Bay have secured the go-ahead.

North Tyneside Council’s planning committee last night gave planning consent and listed building consent for tweaks to be made to the former ballroom, within the Spanish City complex in the seaside town.

The professional team included Dunwoodie Swift Architects, planner Savills, structural engineering consultant Hydrock, Nicholson Nairn (advising on the dancing ladies sculptures) and Michael Atkinson Architecture & Heritage.

A leisure consent was already in place, with site owner Mark Holmes advancing a £3m project before the pandemic. A key element is a new external terrace for the landmark building.

A consented scheme is being tweaked by the operator. Credit: Danieli Group

Savills, Dunwoodie Swift and Hydrock, along with Turner & Townsend, also worked with Stack parent Danieli Group to lead the project team for a swiftly gained approval for the Newcastle United scheme, close to the ground in Strawberry Place.

Matthew Sobic, a director with the planning consultancy, posted on LinkedIn: “Really happy to have supported Newcastle United and Stack Leisure in delivering this really exciting project for a new Fanzone at St James’ Park. Fantastic to have received unanimous support.”

Billed as “St. James’ STACK, powered by Sela” (the club’s shirt sponsor, a Saudi events business) the project will, said NUFC, “be a thriving food, drink and entertainment option for those attending matches and events at the stadium, as well as a bustling midweek leisure and social destination”.

Typically for operating partner Stack, it will be built using repurposed shipping containers around a central plaza and main stage area and is expected to open in spring 2024.

The scheme’s expected lifespan is three years, as the club explores potential uses for the site – a plot it bought back recently. The site has most recently been a car park and has been used as a compound for construction projects in the area.

Stack is pushing ahead with an increasingly widespread portfolio of projects. It has recently announced a development in Northampton, and will next year reopen the Hatch destination in Manchester, as founding operator Bruntwood departs this month.

The North East remains its heartland, with plans advancing in Whitley Bay and Durham, to add to Seaburn and the new fanzone, a successor to its original venue in Pilgrim Street.

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