15,09.23 – Multimillion Pound Investment in Newcastle, Newcastle Town Centre Plans
Written by Hitmix Local News on 17 September 2023
A borough-wide strategy is being updated to reflect multi-million pound investment in Newcastle town centre.
Millions of pounds have been raised for reinvestment in community projects, maintenance and new equipment by selling unneeded council land and buildings.
Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council has generated £6.1 million since March 2021 as part of its asset management strategy.
Stephen Sweeney, Deputy Leader of Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council and Cabinet member for Finance, Town Centres and Growth, said: “With local authorities under pressure to balance the books we have a duty to do the best we can with our assets for the benefit of our taxpayers, so periodically we take a fresh look at the best potential use for under-used land and buildings.
“Each suggestion is subject to a business case and review, and if appropriate we can free these sites to support new homes, jobs and wider investment in Newcastle and Kidsgrove.”
Money raised from sale of assets cannot be used towards meeting annual running costs for the council, but can be used for investing in communities, equipment and infrastructure.
Recent expenditure supported by asset sales include helping reopen Kidsgrove Sports Centre, updating old waste collection and street cleaning vehicles, and maintaining buildings, including reroofing business units.
The updated asset management strategy, to be considered by the council’s Cabinet next week, includes updates on development at The Ryecroft and York Place, long term plans for residential and industrial development as part of regeneration plans for Knutton, and the creation of a shared base for public services in the centre of Kidsgrove.
Also included are proposals to sell a series of small car parks for redevelopment once the new 455-space Castle car park opens, although the report makes clear that public parking spaces will be maintained on a number of sites as requested by local businesses.
Other land earmarked for potential development includes the former Keele golf course, the site of the former Zanzibar nightclub near Newcastle town centre, and Parkhouse West, off the A34.
Cllr Sweeney added: “The asset strategy is not just about selling things – it’s about making the best use of what we have.
“So we might want to reduce spending on heating and maintaining old buildings, or redevelop others to increase income – and we’re constantly looking to reduce our carbon footprint.”
And he added: “At the moment we are also having to identify through our Local Plan which parts of the Borough can be used in coming decades for housing, businesses and community facilities.
“We prefer using existing ‘brown field’ sites wherever possible, rather than green field ones, so if we have unneeded land it makes sense to make it available for development.”
Exciting plans to revitalise Newcastle town centre are gathering pace.
Multi-million pound plans for homes, offices, shops and a hotel, plus public open spaces, are all moving forward for the Ryecroft, York Place and Midway redevelopment.
A report to be considered by Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council’s Cabinet next week also proposes the appointment of nationally-renowned property developers Capital&Centric to help turn the vision of a remodelled York Place into reality.
If approved, the developers will also begin developing plans for the Midway car park site, which will close once the 455-space Castle car park opens in 2024.
Work is ready to begin this month on Castle car park, which will create a large, safe, well-lit place for use day and night, and support the hotel and housing proposed for Ryecroft.
Simon Tagg, Leader of Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council, said: “This once-in-a-generation project to transform the town centre is gathering pace.
“And as we move forward with the regeneration we are finding more opportunities and more businesses and organisations wanting to be a part of it.
“We are delighted that prestigious national developers want to be involved because they can see the long-term potential for people to live, work and enjoy their leisure time in our town centre.”
York Place will feature public open space between Ironmarket and Merrial Street, as well as shop and office buildings.
To enable a cost-effective and environmentally friendly project, Capital&Centric is suggesting that part of the original building’s frame could be retained and integrated into the new design for York Place – reducing demolition and building costs and making a more sustainable proposal.
Stephen Sweeney, Deputy Leader of Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council and Cabinet member for Finance, Town Centres and Growth, said: “With work beginning soon on Castle car park we are laying the necessary first foundations of a project which will increase footfall day and night and boost local shops, restaurants and businesses.”
Capital&Centric has a national reputation for turning unloved buildings and derelict land into homes, workspaces, hotels, shops, bars and restaurants – often embracing eye-catching architecture with energy-efficiency built in.
Successful projects include the award-winning Kampus garden neighbourhood in Manchester and the ongoing restoration of the Grade II listed Weir Mill in Stockport town centre. The company is also delivering regeneration projects in Sheffield, Liverpool, Bolton, Wigan and Stoke-on-Trent.
John Moffat, Joint Managing Director at Capital&Centric, said: “We’re all about taking sites that are past their best and creating a new future, one that people can get excited about.
“Whether in towns, city centres or the suburbs, we work hard to make sure the places we build help foster a proper sense of community. We’ve often done that through a mix of restoration of historic buildings, contemporary new builds and green public spaces where locals want to spend time.
“Newcastle-under-Lyme has both bags of potential and a forward-thinking council with a clear vision of the next chapter for the town centre. We’re really excited about the prospect of getting involved in some of the most prominent sites in the town and bringing our brand of design-led transformation to the centre.”