A MULTI-MILLION pound scheme to replace an eyesore shopping centre has been given the green light.
Newgate Street in Newcastle is set for an £100m revamp which will see the 1960s shopping centre demolished and replaced with new shops, offices and three hotels.
A total of 1,200 jobs look set to be created by the scheme, which was given planning permission by city councillors.
They decided the regeneration would breathe new life into a part of the city left behind by the building of the Gate and the extension of Eldon Square.
The Newgate Shopping Centre has long been considered an eyesore and a blot on the Grainger Town conservation area.
Of 240 nearby businesses consulted on the plans only one objection was received.
Planners also gave the go-ahead for the Quality Hotel and Newgate Shopping Centre to be demolished and for a listed building on Clayton Street to be renovated as part of the scheme.
Flamewall Ltd, a subsidiary of Irish developer McAleer and Rushe, which bought the centre for £18.2m four-and-a-half years ago, is behind the redevelopment.
Michael Hepburn, associate director at planning consultants Nathaniel Litchfield and Partners, who acted on behalf of McAleer and Rushe, said: “We are extremely pleased to have helped McAleer & Rushe secure planning permission for this crucial development in the heart of Newcastle.
“The development will replace the existing buildings with a very high quality scheme that will complement the nearby extension to Eldon Square and increase the number of visitors to this part of the city centre.”
Built in the 1960s, the centre has had a number of facelifts over the years but many shop units remain empty and customers have gone elsewhere.
Architects from Devereux worked with English Heritage on the plans, with the aim of coming up with buildings to complement Richard Grainger and John Dobson’s buildings on Grainger Street and Clayton Street. Planning officers were pleased with the high quality design and materials planned for the development, which they believe will enhance Newcastle’s position as a top destination for shoppers and tourists.
Developers say more than 700 permanent jobs will be created, along with a further 300 construction jobs for the building and 170 indirect jobs.
Westgate councillor Nick Forbes, who is also a member of the city council’s development control committee, said: “I think this development gets rid of some of the ugliest and most unattractive buildings in the city and brings us much needed hotel bed spaces.
“I’m particularly pleased with the high quality of design which blends in very nicely with some of the existing buildings. I’m very impressed with it and I think it is right for the city.”
The massive makeover will involve the creation of a new street, or chare, running from Newgate Street to Fenkle Street and splitting the block in two, following a historic route called Albion Yard.
A 153-bed one-star, 250-bed two-star and 165-bed four star hotels will be created with entrances off the chare.
The developer will make a contribution of £350,000 to the council for city centre improvements as a condition of the planning permission.
McAleer and Rushe say they are committed to starting the development as soon as possible.