Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Future's Almost Here; New Centre on Banks of the Tyne Could Generate Millions of Pounds for Region's Economy

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Future's Almost Here; New Centre on Banks of the Tyne Could Generate Millions of Pounds for Region's Economy

Article excerpt

Byline: GRAEME WHITFIELD Business editor graeme.whitfield@ncjmedia.co.uk @Graemewhitfield

TYNESIDE'S new PS200m conference centre will give a massive boost to the region's economy, it has been claimed.

The venue between the Sage and the Baltic came a step closer when Gateshead Council announced a partnership with property developers Ask Real Estate and investment group Patrizia to develop a 12,500-seat arena, plus conference and exhibition facilities on the 10-acre site.

The development will see the creation of an entertainment, conference and exhibition centre, a hotel, bars and restaurants on the site, with the operator of the Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle closing its current site and moving across the river. Gateshead Council will be borrowing PS25m to help fund the scheme, with PS5m coming from the North East LEP's local growth fund and the rest from the private partners in the scheme.

Gateshead Council leader Martin Gannon defended the spending on the development, and said council budgets would not be affected and the new jobs provided would benefit the town.

He said: "We've long had an ambition to do this but the big shift here is that we've got the users signed in for 35 years.

"People are going to ask where the money is coming from, and I know they will say that this is happening when we're closing libraries or reducing their mother's care package.

"But not a penny of this comes from our revenue budget. This is an investment so that we can generate more business rates, plus we get a rental income from the site, and that all actually helps us sustain services.

"The Government is reducing our support grant by 2021 and we'll have greater demands as well. So if we don't grow our budget, every penny we have will go on adult social care and other fixed costs. We've got no choice but to grow our income - it's also jobs and prosperity and great facilities for the town. …

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