Live Theatre wins backing for Newcastle Quayside gap site scheme

Delight for Live Theatre bosses as they get building approval for gap site in Newcastle Quayside

An artist's impression of the building planned by Live Theatre for a long-vacant plot on Newcastle Quayside

Theatre bosses have spoken of their “delight” at being given the go-ahead for a new building which will fill a long-vacant gap in Newcastle Quayside.

Live Theatre has been given planning permission from Newcastle City councillors for its LiveWorks £10m capital development scheme on the Quayside.

It bought the last remaining prime Quayside plot of land and buildings alongside its theatre premises in February, and plans a four-storey office building.

The scheme also includes a landscaped green space, a new pocket park with public pedestrian access from the Quayside, and a public and performance space managed and programmed by Live Theatre.

The refurbishment of a listed adjacent almshouse will also see the building used as a children and young people’s writing centre.

The office building is described as a “contemporary reinterpretation of a brick warehouse” in sandstone and glass.

Working with architects Flanagan Lawrence, whose lead architect Jason Flanagan worked on the Sage Gateshead building, Live Theatre explored options on how to sensitively fill the key gap next to the listed Custom House on the Quayside.

Newcastle City Council planners, in recommending the approval of the scheme, said: “The proposal makes good use of the site to introduce not just a new building, but a new enclosed semi-public space to the Quayside.

“Its links to the Live Theatre also has potential to increase the prominence of this place of interest within the city.”

Once complete, LiveWorks will create new revenue streams for the core creative and educational work of Live Theatre.

An archaeological dig has also now started on the site, which was last used as a pocket park and car park.

Jim Beirne, chief executive of Live Theatre said: “We are delighted that planners had given approval to LiveWorks scheme and are excited to move the project through the archaeological survey and then on to the next phase of design and build.

“The development will create new commercial offices, a public park and writing centre for young people. “Once complete LiveWorks will provide many future opportunities for businesses, artists, children and young people.”

Paul Callaghan, chairman of Live Theatre and Newcastle Gateshead Initiative, said: “This wonderful project is not just significant for Live Theatre but also for Newcastle and Gateshead as a whole.

“It will be an amazing place for people of all ages, but particularly for children and young people. This key site has stood empty for too long and we are delighted that we are going to be able to transform it into something so special.”

The purchase of the land and buildings and the development of the site has been supported by a loan of £6m from Newcastle City Council and a £1.73m grant from the North East European Regional Development Fund Programme. Additional fundraising is taking place for writing centre.


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