Friday, May 9, 2008


9th May 2008

The long anticipated proposal to build over the former paint factory site is in. Newcastle City Council (NCC) has released few details but the scale of the proposal is mind boggling.

"Erection of eight blocks of residential development comprising 504 units with ancillary A1,A2 and A3 uses in 5 of the blocks at level 1 and provision of multi storey car park (305) spaces, surface car park (97 spaces) and undercroft car parking (320 spaces)".

In other words a massive development, with towers over-topping the Battlefield-City Stadium open space, presumably affording top floor (penthouse?) tenants or owners exclusive views of the Tyne far below.

The site is described as "to the east of Portland Road". They must be able to do better than that.

But that's it. No name of developer (naturally) and no drawings, artist's impressions, nothing. Bleak, ain't it?

Your servant has been on to NCC (who are acting as bag carriers for the developers) with the following observations:

"The description of the development is scant. The location is vague. The scale of the development is in an area presently with few amenities apart from open space, which itself may be adversely affected by this proposal if it receives planning consent. The area is adjacent to the Lower Ouseburn and may have a detrimental impact on further beneficial developments in this area. Traffic implications for the surrounding roads are unclear but must be considerable given the size of the undertaking.

I welcome developments which will enhance the area and actively progress what the successful regeneration projects have achieved thus far. But any future developments must not detract from these achievements if maximum long term utilisation of this historic district is to be assured.

Until a clearer and transparent description of the proposal is forthcoming I wish to register my opposition to this scheme on the following grounds.

1. Preserving the gains made by various parties to the historic character of the Lower Ouseburn which this proposed development will abut.

2. Unknown design and build considerations. Until a firm description of the size, build quality and landscaping can be obtained the scheme is an unknown quantity.

3. Unknown impacts on the local environment including open green space. Potential impacts on the visual quality of the historic Ouseburn area.

4. Traffic management issues on approach roads.

5. Long term issues for living and working in the Ouseburn – South Jesmond district. Determining and meeting long term objectives for the district."


To view the scant details available go to

From the open page click "Terms and Conditions" and then proceed to "Open Public Access for Planning Now". The click on "Planning". The Application number is as follows:


The advice given to me was "click the arrow on the right hand side of the screen for full details" – if these exist I could not see them.

Please do submit your comments and if you are, like me sceptical until some detail is available, register your dissent by clearly stating your OBJECTION. Please use the actual word, for, as I have discovered, if the word is not there then you did not object, merely complain.

More soon. We can be sure of that.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

"Wrong sort of offices"


By Central Station

Brand new and as yet no takers.

Plenty of space ... 

... old space...

... chic space with more to come.

In a telephone conversation with me in 2002 a Newcastle City Council official discussed the 'need' for office space in the city. As posts below set out, the plan for Battlefield involved a 'business park' on the site of the former Berger paint factory and, in order to maximise the developer's gain, extensive car parking over the Battlefield/City Stadium site. One plan – there were three 'alternatives' – spoke of thirteen hundred spaces.

When I pointed out that there were, even then, empty office blocks all over the city he replied "They are the wrong sort of offices".

The situation has not changed much as these photographs demonstrate. All were taken on 5th May 2008. For the good of the city and employment prospects generally I sincerely hope all these premises attract tenants soon. Yet, I am wondering "Who benefits?" My feeling is that it is the building itself, often financed by 'off shore' investors seeking to create an asset irrespective of need, that is the point.

Coming soon: Ouseburn the alternative strategy!