UKREiiF | Gateshead lines up regen opportunities
The council is stepping up its efforts to bring about the next wave of development projects on its side of the Tyne, chief executive Sheena Ramsey said.
Speaking to Place North East at UKREiiF, Ramsey said that the priority site, the former surface car park between the twin assets of the Sage and the Baltic, where a £330m complex including a 12,500-capacitry arena and a conference centre, is just the start:
“The riverside is under-developed – it’s not exactly a blank canvas, but there is loads of potential. We’re looking to change the dynamic – it’s not about challenging Newcastle, but us complementing each other and working hand-in-glove as we look to unlock these sites. There are opportunities all the way along to the Metrocentre.”
The council controls a variety of former industrial sites in the town centre and close to the river, and believes the advantages it can offer to incoming businesses, such as power supplied through the Gateshead District Energy Scheme, is a major plus.
As part of its preparing the way for commercial development, the council is advancing plans to revitalise the pedestrian and cycle pathways along the Tyne, revitalising assets such as the sculptures dating back to the Gateshead Garden Festival in 1990.
Ramsey said: “Some of these parts of the riverside have been unloved and a bit neglected, but there’s a chance to pull them together and create something special that makes the most of the setting.”
The quayside arena, which will effectively replace Newcastle’s facility, should be a project that makes the wider world turn an eye to Gateshead once again. The architect for the project is HOK, renowned for its work on stadia and venues the world over. The centre will be known as The Sage, with the existing Sage venue then changing name.
In a scheme that has funding input from ther Levelling Up Fund, plans have been tweaked to relocate a proposed hotel within the site boundaries. Plans are expected to go to committee this summer.
Ramsey said: “It feels like Gateshead’s time. We have the opportunity to make the best of these assets.”