Vision to tap into area's potential

LONG-AWAITED £40m redevelopment plans for a 7.5-acre site east of Newcastle city centre have been revealed by Metnor Property Group.

LONG-AWAITED £40m redevelopment plans for a 7.5-acre site east of Newcastle city centre have been revealed by Metnor Property Group.

The Newcastle development company has unveiled images of how the first phase of commercial development would look, facing Stoddart Street in Shieldfield.

The proposed Portland Green development would offer a mixture of offices, shops and homes, expected eventually to host about 1,000 jobs.

While planning permission has not yet been finalised, Metnor aims to begin on site this autumn.

The site has stood vacant for years, since the departure of paint company Akzo Nobel and more recently that of motor dealerships at the north end of the Stoddart Street frontage.

Architect Faulkner Brown has put together a design with green credentials. Metnor says the use of sensitive design respects the scale and location of surrounding land uses such as student housing and other residential developments.

The buildings are designed to be environmentally sound and would be constructed to high Breeam ratings, with requirements for heat and light kept to a minimum.

One of the aims of the Metnor scheme is to improve links between the city centre and the east of Newcastle. The layout has been designed to encourage pedestrian and cycle movement through the site into the east of the city and to the city centre.

The site is on several bus routes, with more nearby, and both Byker and Manors Metro stations are within 10 minutes’ walk.

Parkland around City Stadium and the upper Ouseburn valley are close by. Metnor Property Group managing director John Parkinson said: "This is a well thought out, high quality solution for an important part of the city which will greatly benefit from regeneration.

"We believe that this site is a key link site between the centre and places such as Sandyford and East Quayside.

"The size and quality of Portland Green mean it has the potential to have a major impact on the local economy and future investment in this area."

Co-director Brian Ham said: "With developments in the Ouseburn area and Jesmond, Shieldfield has remained largely under-developed, apart from the successful Biscuit Factory art gallery, and we are confident that Portland Green will help to place this area on the map and be a catalyst for further investment."

The Shieldfield and "Gateway to Ouseburn" area has seen several development projects recently, with Boyd Developments recently completing an office and restaurant at the top of Boyd Street, developer Adderstone announcing its Maling Court office project, and record company Kitchenware saying it is investing in a new Soul Kitchen as a focus for the Tyneside music industry with room for bands to write and rehearse.

Tony Wordsworth, of joint agent GVA Lamb & Edge, believes Portland Green will help provide for outstanding demand for high quality space in Newcastle.

He said: "This major development presents an integrated, mixed-use scheme which directly addresses the need for high quality offices close to the city centre, yet with excellent access by car, public transport or foot.

"The site is strategically important to Newcastle, on the edge of the city centre and the East End.

"Every aspect of the scheme is green and Metnor has already made a significant investment into the site to ensure its completion by 2011."

The agents for the development are Tony Wordsworth and Paul Murphy on building 1a, and just GVA Lamb and Edge on building 1b.

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