Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Pounds 200m Plan to Safeguard City's Locomotive Legacy; Development Could Be World Heritage Site

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Pounds 200m Plan to Safeguard City's Locomotive Legacy; Development Could Be World Heritage Site

Article excerpt

Byline: Tony Henderson Environment Editor

THE full details of a pounds 200m scheme that could win Newcastle World Heritage status can be revealed today. Planning work by developers Silverlink for the project for the Stephenson Quarter behind Newcastle Central Station has been ongoing for the last four years.

It is hoped it will create up to 3,500 jobs.

The venture includes a 250-bed, four-star hotel, another boutique hotel, 155 flats, art gallery space, public squares, shops, offices and restaurants and a 300-space multi-storey car park.

Plans will go before city councillors on Friday, with planners describing the scheme as "hugely significant for the continuing redevelopment of the city and the Tyne and Wear conurbation."

Planners are advising backing for the scheme.

A total of eight new buildings are proposed, in addition to work on five listed buildings in the area, which includes the site of the world's first purpose-built locomotive factory. Robert Stephenson opened the engine works in 1824 at South Street and pioneering locomotives such as the Rocket were built there. The Stephenson Works are now Grade II-star listed.

Jules Brown, co-ordinator of the Newcastle Conservation Advisory Panel, said: "There is a groundswell of opinion in the railway heritage sector that parts of the site, relating to the early Stephenson railway works, have the potential to form the basis of a World Heritage site."

The development area is bounded by Forth Street, Orchard Street, Hanover Street and Forth Banks. The heart of the development would be the new Stephenson Square, with the other public spaces being named Coppersmith Square and Hawthorn Square.

In 2004 Silverlink, who at that time were close to completing what is now the major award-winning Trinity Gardens development at the rear of the Law Courts complex on Newcastle Quayside, acquired the freehold to the Stephenson Quarter land from St Mary the Virgin Trust.

The proposed development includes:

Building A: An eight-storey 250 bedroom hotel immediately south of Forth Street and east of the existing Sachins restaurant on the corner with Forth Banks.

Building B/C/D: Multi-storey car park, offices and Royal Mail distribution centre. This multi purpose building is proposed for Forth Banks next to the existing Hawthorn House.

Building E: Hawthorn House office refurbishment.

This is an existing mid-19th Century building closely associated with the Hawthorn and Leslie engineering works .

Building F: nine-storey office building with retail/restaurant units.

Building G: An eight-storey office block.

Building H: 86 flats, offices and a restaurant.

Building K: 18 flats, offices, gymnasium, restaurant.

Building L and S: Blocks of 24 and 27 flats.

Silverlink wants to safeguard the heritage of Robert Stephenson from his work there in the late 1840s. …

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