Basketball champions the Newcastle Eagles are a step closer to having their own home court after plans to start work on it were approved.
The decision came as part of the renovation of Riverside Dene, Elswick, and the project to build a £9m arena has been given the go ahead.
The recently crowned British Basketball League winners are planning to move into their new 3,000-seater home in September 2015, after a five-year stint playing their home games at Northumbria University’s Sport Central complex in the city centre.
The growing popularity of the sport has seen courts sprout up all over the city and the new gym will ensure that the Eagles’ community programme, which reaches thousands of children, will continue to thrive.
Work was given the green light by Newcastle City Council cabinet and leader Nick Forbes said he was pleased an agreement had been reached.
“It has been quite a long time coming but I’m delighted that we have got this progress,” he said.
“Getting the Eagles a permanent home is a wonderful case subject for how seriously we take sport in this city.
“If kids can have the opportunity to try different sports when they are younger perhaps more might keep up with it in their lives.”
Tynexe have been awarded the land to build the stadium by the council, gaining a 250-year lease and have been granted permission to appoint a contractor to start work as soon as possible.
However it is understood that the Newcastle Eagles are still to strike a deal with the company, with negotiations between the pair still ongoing.
The approval for the stadium came as part of a report detailing widespread work to Riverside Dene, and Coun Forbes said it was important for the area to become an established part of the city once again.
“It’s all part of trying to rebuild the confidence in that side of the city,” he said.
“We want all parts of the city to feel like it belongs.”
Riverside Dene, formerly known as Cruddas Park, is set to undergo a full regeneration programme as part of the council’s latest decision, with work now planned for the shopping centre and new housing also set to be built in the surrounding area.