There are signs of new development momentum within key urban core regeneration areas.
The essential ingredient to bring home ambitious regeneration plans is still the availability of public sector pump priming funds. These have become increasingly difficult to secure within a period of strong government sector cut backs – that position was also further exacerbated by the demise of the region’s regional development agency, One North East.
New powers are to be delegated from central government which will allow the local authorities to borrow substantial funds to revive regeneration schemes on Tyneside. The loans will be paid back through the business rates generated from the occupiers of new office blocks and retail buildings within the ADZ. Tax Increment Financing (TIF) will become a key element of emerging development and regeneration schemes across Tyneside.
The proposed regeneration schemes within the Discovery and Stephenson Quarters may be the first to be progressed under this new TIF/Accelerated Development Zone initiative.
The Discovery Quarter has a long history of industrial uses and offers huge potential for commercial mixed use development at a key entrance point to the city alongside the Redheugh Bridge and St James Boulevard. Roadwork improvements have already commenced to improve traffic flows and improve access to the area. Construction work at Kings House and the Railway Warehouse at Forth Banks /Pottery lane is now well advanced and will accommodate thenew citycentre police station which will relocate fromMarket Street.
Perhaps the most awaited comprehensive regeneration scheme will be the £200m Stephenson Quarter mixed use scheme which is scheduled to commence this summer. The scheme which is being undertaken by Silverlink Developments on a 10-acre site to the rear of Central Station will bring forward a high-quality master planned development involving offices, two hotels, a multi-storey car park, residential apartments, restaurants and public open space.
Support from the City Council and TIF/ADZ funding will assist the developer to bring forward to progress this long awaited regeneration scheme which will also provide a vibrant link between the city centre and the Quayside area. The proposed mixed uses will be highly sustainable at this key gateway location.
The proposed development activity withinNewcastlecity centre,Gatesheadtown centre, Ouseburn, Baltic Business Quarter and other Quayside developments, means that Newcastle/Gateshead is now one of the biggest regeneration areas in theUK.
This was recently acknowledged by Greg Clark, the cities minister on a visit to Tyneside, when he confirmed thatNewcastle’s bid was “his biggest priority within the Core Cities”. The 8 Core Cities can now bid for new powers to drive faster growth, working with central government through the minister for cities and the Cabinet.
The freeing up of funding and delegation of powers under the Localism agenda will allow the local authorities to secure funding for major infrastructure works and pump prime the main regeneration schemes within the “urban core” of Newcastle/Gateshead.