Permission has been granted for the redevelopment of a 19 acre Tyneside site which has stood unused and semi derelict for over 25 years.
Gateshead Council’s planning committee approved proposals for 300 new homes on the former freight sidings site, off the Felling Bypass.
The move means the ambitious and complex proposal has cleared another hurdle on the way to becoming one of the biggest projects taken on by Gateshead Regeneration Partnership (GRP) — a venture involving the council, regeneration and house building specialist Vistry Partnerships and housing provider, Home Group.
The plans include a wide variety of properties to buy and rent, including 60 apartments in three blocks, and 240 two, three and four bedroomed homes. The layout also accommodates a community hub and well-designed landscaping and open areas, allowing access through the site for pedestrians and cyclists.
Around 45 of the proposed new homes would be allocated for affordable rent — through Home Group — with around 100 more available for private rent through one of the nation’s leading providers and 155 homes would be for market sale, through Vistry Partnerships North East’s housebuilding division, Linden Homes.
The new homes would all meet Building for Life, Code for Sustainable Homes level 3 and Lifetime Homes standards — meaning they would be suitable for all, including those of restricted mobility and can be adapted as people’s needs change. They would also have much larger rooms, higher levels of energy efficiency and greater environmental performance than the average new build home.
Councillor John Adams, Cabinet Member for Housing at Gateshead Council, said: “This decision brings our aim of creating a vibrant and sustainable community close to the heart of Gateshead another step closer. This is a fantastic town centre site, but one which had a lot of contamination and needed a lot of work to bring back into use. There are still many pieces of the jigsaw to complete but we are sure that our ambitious plans to deliver high quality housing will play a big part in supporting the revitalisation of central Gateshead.”
Sean Egan, Managing Director with Vistry Partnerships North East, added: “The old freight depot site offers a unique opportunity to establish a housing-led regeneration project close to the centre of the town. I’m confident the homes we want to create here will not only bring new people to the area but prove a popular choice with locals — as the partnership’s award winning project in Saltwell has done.”
Joe Cook, Executive Director of Development at Home Group, said: “It’s great to see the next part of the ambitious Gateshead Regeneration Project get the green light. There is a need for more social and affordable homes in the region and this is another big step in satisfying that demand for local people. This site posed a number of difficulties which were overcome through great partnership working and without the loss of affordable housing numbers.”
Homes England has provided support funding for the project as part of the Government’s Local Authority Accelerated Construction (LAAC) programme which was launched to help unlock public land and increase the speed of delivery on local authority housing schemes.
The proposed development would be part of a £350m project being driven by GRP, which has a vision to create around 2,000 new homes on 16 sites across the borough. As well as improving housing quality and choice, the initiative is providing job and training opportunities — a minimum of 25% of which go to local people — and an economic uplift — a quarter of the supply budget is committed to businesses within the borough.
Construction of the first group of sites comprising 309 homes — in Saltwell, Deckham and Birtley — is virtually completed and work on the second group is underway at Kelvin Grove, Saltwell, 46 family homes for private sale and six for affordable rent; Gibside Chase, Rowlands Gill, a development of 23 properties for sale and St. Albans, in Windy Nook, where a further 39 homes are available for sale. Properties at all three developments are being sold by Linden Homes.
Header image shows an aerial view of the Freight Depot site.