The masterplan vision is for a mixed-use scheme of around 175,000m², which will have science and sustainability at its heart. It will encompass business, research, residential, retail and leisure accommodation. The vision is a long-term one, with a phased approach to activity generating an estimated £255m private-sector investment over its 15-20 year lifespan and the projected creation of up to 1,900 net additional jobs.
Professor Chris Brink, Vice-Chancellor, Newcastle University said: 'The site will be a highly visible presence reinforcing our vision to further develop Newcastle as a city of science. It will be a hub where we will continue to tackle big societal challenges such as sustainability.
'Already we have invested in building a new Business school on the Science Central complex where staff and students will be based from this summer. We envisage the ten storey building becoming a well-known landmark for the city and University.
'Further investment in the site will see the relocation of some of the University's activities in sustainability research. Initial drilling of a 2,000 metre geothermal borehole to harness geothermal energy from deep underground is an exciting first step in this project.'
Colin MacPherson, 1NG project director said: 'Approval of the outline planning application is a major milestone towards realising the potential for this important city-centre site - and the creation of a new sustainable urban quarter in the heart of Newcastle.
'We are pressing ahead with a clear agenda for Science Central in close collaboration with the partners, Newcastle University and Newcastle City Council. Good progress has already been made, with a detailed application for the next phase including the Gateway Building, already in preparation, and construction work anticipated to start early 2012; with completion towards the end of 2013.'
Paul Walker, chair at Newcastle Science City, said: 'Science Central is a truly visionary plan to further accelerate Newcastle as a city of science. We already have state-of-the-art facilities for our key growth areas of stem cell and regenerative medicine at the Centre for Life, ageing and health at Newcastle University’s Institute for Ageing and Health; and now Science Central will become the focus of our expertise in sustainability.
'Providing the right infrastructure is crucial to our efforts to bring together and showcase to the rest of the world our scientific and academic weight to attract new investors and new jobs. Whilst construction work takes place on the site, we will forge ahead with our work to create the skills and new companies that will eventually be based at Science Central.'
Barry Rowland, chief executive of Newcastle City Council, said: 'This is another concrete step forward for this development. It means we will see construction work begin, which will bring jobs and build confidence in the city's overall Science City programme'
Science Central fits into the strategic framework outlined in the 1PLAN, NewcastleGateshead’s 20-year economic and spatial strategy. The 1PLAN focuses on building a knowledge economy and attracting, developing and retaining high-skilled jobs in sustainable science and low-carbon technologies, areas where Newcastle University has particular global renown, but also areas of vital importance to the economy of the future.
Development is progressing well on the complex by developer Downing with Newcastle University’s new ten-storey Business School where staff and students will be based from this summer, and the completion of a 160-bed hotel due this summer, by Canadian company Northland Properties.
published on: 9th May 2011