A major economic regeneration project which will help to breathe new life into the heart of Newcastle has taken a significant step forward.
Contracts have been exchanged between the Borough Council, Staffordshire County Council and HDD Newcastle-under-Lyme Limited – a joint venture between Henry Davidson Developments (HDD) and property regeneration specialist U+I – for a scheme to transform the Ryecroft area of the town.
The proposals will result in a retail-led development of the former Sainsbury’s site and the adjoining Civic Offices.
As well as new shopping facilities with parking there will also be much-needed accommodation for university students which will help to further develop links between the town centre and prestigious Keele University.
Cllr. Elizabeth Shenton, Leader of the Borough Council, said: “Signing contracts with HDD and U+I is great news and represents a very positive progression for this exciting project.
“As our preferred developer, they have re-affirmed their ongoing commitment to the Ryecroft scheme and we look forward to working closely with them to bring the project to fruition. These are very exciting times for the borough and this project will bring benefits in terms of jobs, improved shopping facilities and a significant amount of quality accommodation for university students.”
In order to free-up a large part of the Ryecroft site for development, the Borough Council and its partners – Staffordshire County Council and Staffordshire Police – will be moving out of the Civic Offices and into a new public sector hub which is being built on the site of the former St. Giles’ and St. George’s School adjacent to Queen’s Gardens.
The three organisations will move into the new offices in the summer of 2017.
Ian Parry, Deputy Leader of the County Council and Cabinet member for finance and corporate matters, said: “Building the public sector hub, which frees space for this major development at Ryecroft, is an essential part of the County Council’s commitment to working with the Borough Council and others to deliver a prosperous, vibrant town centre in Newcastle.
“Not only will this combined project boost the town centre economy, it reduces the cost to the taxpayer of running public buildings and supports Keele University’s future expansion by providing more accommodation.”
Richard Croft, Director at HDD, added: “Together with our partner U+I, we are passionate about adding value to local areas and communities. This is an exciting scheme for the town and we look forward to delivering increased footfall, growth, good quality accommodation and improved retail facilities for Newcastle-under-Lyme.”
Simon Hesketh, Director of Regeneration at U+I, said: “We look forward to working closely with our partners to deliver an invigorated town centre that the local community can be proud of.”
The wider regeneration of the Ryecroft area – and its “sister” project which involves the development of Newcastle’s public sector hub - will bring huge benefits which include saving Council Taxpayers more than £60 million in property running costs; centralising public sector partners under one roof to make access easier for residents; creating hundreds of new jobs; boosting retail in Newcastle town centre and providing additional student accommodation.