TYCOON SIR John Hall has appointed architects to put together a restoration plan for his derelict Tyneside mansion.
The former Newcastle United owner has confirmed a finalised proposal will be submitted to Newcastle City Council this year, with the hope of securing planning permission in the winter.
Sir John, 78, says that if the project sticks to its current timetable construction, restoration work could begin soon after Christmas.
The Metrocentre founder has revealed he intends to create a unique seafood restaurant on the Woolsington Estate, with the help of his newly-appointed chief executive Paul Mackings, former chief executive of Newcastle Falcons’ rugby team.
Paul is the chief executive of Vimac Leisure, the company behind the award-winning Crab and Lobster restaurant, near Thirsk, North Yorkshire, whose success Sir John is keen to emulate.
Along with family members, Sir John, who has already overseen the restoration and transformation of Wynyard Hall on Teesside, into a flourishing hotel and wedding venue, and plans to restore all of the gardens at Woolsington.
He said: “We are aware this is an enormous project, but one we are very excited about. We have already spent a lot of money securing the property and it will be wonderful to breathe new life into it.
“Part of our overall plan is to restore the extensive gardens and grounds, so guests can enjoy walks through the woodlands. We want families to be able to come and stay, or enjoy, a meal or afternoon tea and have access to the fantastic views and setting.
“Woolsington is so close to the city it can offer families across the whole of Tyneside so much, if we get the development right. That’s why we are busy preparing a document to take to the council.”
The go-ahead with the ambitious £10m restoration of the 17th Century Woolsington estate comes after doubt was cast over its future last year.
Sir John put the transformation on hold as the climate for investment continued to struggle.
The multi-millionaire now says the time is right to start planning for the future with encouraging signs of economic recovery.
The 340-acre site, which is just minutes from Newcastle International Airport, is hoped to attract business from passing tourists as well as families in Tyneside and Northumberland.
Sir John said: “It will be fantastic to finally start work on Woolsington, which we believe will be the perfect compliment to what we already have on offer at Wynyard, in the south of the region.
“I have always been aware of the excellent location Woolsington occupies, and hopefully it will be another successful addition to the attractions already on offer for visitors and tourists in the area. We want the project to be a boost for the whole region.”
The dilapidated 340-acre Woolsington Hall estate was bought in 1994 by Cameron Hall Developments, Sir John’s firm.