Following approval in April 2011 of the outline planning application for Science Central, the 24-acre former Scottish and Newcastle brewery site, work has been progressing to prepare the site for development and to improve its amenity.
An application was lodged today by city development company, 1NG, on behalf of the Newcastle Science Partnership for the first phase of works. Plans include site enabling works and the installation of a range of temporary uses, designed to ensure positive and sustainable use of the land as development on the early phases of the work progresses.
A recent public consultation on the future plans for the site saw up to 100 members of the public attend to see future proposals. Feedback gathered from the event was extremely positive.
To create a permanently stable platform for all future buildings, plans include removal of around 40,000-60,000 tonnes of near-surface coal, which will then be replaced with surplus materials already present on the site from the previous demolition of the brewery buildings.
This will provide significant sustainable, financial and physical benefits, including: securing use of a natural asset; avoiding the need to pump substantial amounts of concrete underground to grout old mine workings; re-using and recycling a substantial quantity of surplus materials, and saving on projects costs to the tune of approximately £4m.
Following this work, the opportunity to use parts of the site for temporary/interim landscapes is to be realised, including the creation of a network of paths to cross the site; the creation of public squares and parks and a temporary car park for users and visitors of the site.
On completion of this work, later this year a reserved matters application will be submitted for the ‘Gateway’ Building proposals and phase 1 permanent landscape works. The building will be designed to be a space to promote sustainable science and will encompass an incubation centre, a range of spaces to attract new and established knowledge-based businesses and office accommodation for commercial companies.
The permanent works include the creation of a Gateway Square connecting the site to the city at St James’ Boulevard; the creation of Science Square connecting the site to the University via Heber Street and a high-quality shared surface to Wellington Street.
Colin MacPherson, 1NG Science Central Project Director, said: “This is an exciting stage of the development of Science Central. These site-enabling works will allow the project masterplan to be fully delivered over the coming years, whilst improving the amenity of the site in the short term.”
Owned by Newcastle City Council and Newcastle University, the site is a 15-20 year development project.
Newcastle University Vice Chancellor, Professor Chris Brink, said: ““Science Central will become a hub for research and development relating to sustainability issues, bringing together leading experts in the field with industry and the local community to tackle one of the great societal challenges of our age. This work has already begun with the drilling of one of the UK’s deepest geothermal boreholes in the heart of the city centre which the University hopes will provide heat not only for the new development but also for the businesses and nearby homes. This next step will provide the foundations for our vision and demonstrates our commitment to the creation of Science Central.”
A Newcastle City Council spokesperson said: "This is a key step in the realisation of our vision of creating a new urban quarter in the city which will be an exemplar of sustainability, attracting leading edge scientific organisations and providing a specialist business support hub and state-of-the-art facilities for small start-up science companies and inward investors.
“Subject to planning consent, this will herald the start of construction work, bringing jobs to the city and building confidence in the regional economy.”
For more information visit the 1NG Science Central project website.
Press release courtesy of 1NG
published on: 6 January 2012