Student flats bid for key city centre site

Decision due next week on Newcastle student flats scheme for city centre site

Derelict land off Westgate Road in Newcastle, where it is proposed to build student accommodation.
Derelict land off Westgate Road in Newcastle, where it is proposed to build student accommodation.

A decision is due next week on plans for a city centre site once occupied by a notorious eyesore building.

The former 13-storey Westgate House in Newcastle, which blocked views as it straddled Westgate Road, was knocked down seven years ago after a campaign for its demolition.

The site has lain vacant ever since, and sits alongside the empty Norwich Union House.

Now city councillors are being advised by planners to back a scheme on July 25 to use the site of the two buildings for 259 student apartments.

Planners say the location is one of the few significant gap sites in the Central Conservation Area and despite various planning approvals has lain dormant and unattractive since the demolition of Westgate House in 2007.

They said the site is sensitive not only due to its physical prominence in the townscape but also due to its proximity to several listed buildings and structures.

These including the Union Rooms, the grade two-star Stephenson Monument and grade I Church of St. John. There are also numerous other listed buildings in the area.

 

Derelict land off Westgate Road in Newcastle, where it is proposed to build student accommodation.
Derelict land off Westgate Road in Newcastle, where it is proposed to build student accommodation.

The south of the site is currently under redevelopment to provide a new public open space focused around Stephenson’s Monument.

The site is next to the busy bars of Collingwood Street, and is also linked to the similarly busy Bigg Market by Pudding Chare.

There are plans to widen Pudding Chare, but English Heritage considers that the street should retain its narrowness as part of the medieval network of streets in the area.

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