Unanimous thumbs-up for revised Gateshead arena scheme
Updated plans for the 12,500-capacity Sage Arena and International Conference Centre, along with a park, have been rubber-stamped – although the timeline for delivery has been pushed back.
Gateshead Council’s planning committee unanimously granted permission for the tweaked project set for the banks of the Tyne earlier this week.
The park, which replaces a dual-branded hotel now shifted slightly offsite, is intended to enhance biodiversity and provide both pedestrian link and lift access from South Shore Road and the Millennium Bridge area up to Hawks Road, Gateshead College and the hotels.
Minor tweaks have been made to access and circulation spaces.
The updated scheme was submitted in March, after the previous approval a year earlier. Approval had been recommended by officers.
Martin Gannon, leader of Gateshead Council, said: ‘‘Today marks another major milestone in the project and we’re looking forward to bringing The Sage Arena and The Sage International Conference Centre to Gateshead, attracting high-profile events and conferences to our region.
“The development will bring numerous opportunities and benefits to our residents, attracting visitors and creating jobs and bringing millions of pounds of investment to Gateshead and the North East.’’
Ask Patrizia is the developer for the scheme, which is designed by venue specialist HOK. The professional team includes planner Lichfields, engineer Cundall, QS Corefive, Planit-IE, Crowd Dynamics and Vectos.
Changes within the planning application also included updates to the timeline for the delivery of The Sage in light of the construction sector’s challenges. Ask Patrizia now proposes smaller delivery packages:
- The Sage International Conference Centre will be opened in autumn 2025
- Dual branded Hotel will be opened in autumn 2025
- The Sage Arena will open in 2027
The ICC includes 61,500 sq ft of exhibition space, 27,000 sq ft of adaptable meeting space, 17 conference rooms and a banqueting suite, giving the region a standard of conferencing facilities it doesn’t currently possess.
Tentatively valued at around £350m ,the project as a whole is backed by £20m from the Levelling Up Fund. Gateshead wants the scheme to trigger the further regeneration of the Tyne banks area and beyond, with land for up to 6,000 homes and 800,000 sq ft of commercial space in mind.
The Novotel-Ibis hotel was approved in March, with contractor Russell WBHO now lining up a start on site on the two-year build before the end of 2023 after being appointed in June. AHR Architects has designed the nine-storey facility.
Ian Thomas, destination director of NewcastleGateshead Initiative, said: “This is an excellent step forward. We welcome all progress on The Sage Arena and The Sage International Conference Centre. It will be such a transformational asset for our whole region, showcasing our strengths to a global audience and supporting the growth of our visitor economy.”