Third time lucky with £23m plan's go-ahead

It's third time lucky for a £23m retail development on the western outskirts of Newcastle - plans have been given the green light on the third attempt.

It's third time lucky for a £23m retail development on the western outskirts of Newcastle - plans have been given the green light on the third attempt.

Barnard Castle-based Rokeby Developments finally received planning permission from Newcastle City Council's planning committee for the 120,000sqft re-development of West Denton shopping centre last month.

The company, which bought the property on West Denton Lane in 2001 before selling it to Wm Morrison two years ago, hopes to start work on the first phase - new access to All Saints College at the back of the centre and a car park - by the summer. Managing director Adrian Goodall said: "This has been a challenging scheme to get off the ground for a variety of reasons.

"Close collaboration with the council, Morrisons, [transport operator] Nexus and the local community has eventually been rewarded and we look forward providing users with much-needed modern amenities."

The Ryder HKS-scheme, the cost of which has ballooned from £20m, will consist of a 75,000sqft superstore for Morrisons, 10,000sqft of new shops, ranging in size from 500sqft to 1,000sqft, and a new health centre. Rokeby lodged the last of its three applications in September last year after six months' consultation with local residents and the council.

The new plans include two bus stops with more drop-off points to be added later.

Work on the health centre will start by October, after the completion of the car park and access road, and should take seven months to complete. Work will then start on the superstore and shops. Wm Morrison development director Chris Evenson said: "A revitalised centre will bring many benefits to the local community and, in particular, older people will benefit from the improvement in transport links."

The re-development of the main shopping precinct will add 15,000sqft of new retail space as well as refurbishing existing units.

The new space will comprise a number of units ranging in size from 500sqft up to 1,000sqft.

Rokeby director Nick Fordy said last year he hoped most of the existing tenants would take new space in the revitalised shopping centre.

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