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Newcastle Science City plans to be Europe’s best

Grand designs to create Europe’s finest science quarter in the heart of Newcastle upon Tyne’s city centre have been revealed for the first time today (Thursday, 5 June 2008).

Newcastle Science City’s masterplan for Science Central on the former Gallowgate brewery site includes a vision on the scale of Grainger Town, with imposing new streets, a new city square, landmark buildings and wide public spaces opening up this new science quarter to the rest of the city centre.

The masterplan for the 19 acre site shows this is a community development, as well as a place for scientific excellence, with the potential to create thousands of new jobs.  It will be home to Newcastle University Research Institutes, Newcastle College’s new School of Applied Sciences, a specialist business support hub and state of the art facilities for small start up science companies as well as inward investors.

Sitting alongside these academic and business neighbours will be family homes and apartments for local people, accommodation for students studying at Newcastle University along with leisure and retail facilities.

Peter Arnold, Chief Executive, Newcastle Science City said: “Our vision is to make Newcastle Science City one of the world’s premier locations for science, business and economic development.  At Science Central we have an unrivalled development opportunity and, coupled with the scientific excellence right here in Newcastle, our potential for a successful science quarter is among the best in Europe.”

John Shipley, Leader of Newcastle City Council, commented:  Science Central is hugely important to Newcastle and the economy of the region as a whole. It puts us on the international science and technology map and provides a fitting home for the outstanding research taking place in the city. Furthermore, it is the gateway to the West End of the city and we will do all we can to ensure it brings opportunities and benefits right across this part of Newcastle.

Alan Clarke, Chief Executive at One NorthEast said: “Newcastle Science City is set to become a world leading base for high-technology businesses, academics and researchers, placing Newcastle and the wider region firmly on the map as a major hub of scientific excellence.  The unveiling of Science City’s masterplan is an important milestone in the development of Newcastle’s science quarter, which will potentially generate thousands of new jobs in the North East.”

Professor Chris Brink, Vice Chancellor of Newcastle University said: “This visionary development will help the university attract top quality students and staff, putting us in an even stronger position to work with businesses and drive forward the regional economy, creating high quality jobs and wealth for all to share.”

Jackie Fisher, Principal and Chief Executive at Newcastle College said: “Newcastle College is delighted to be part of Science City. The School of Applied Science is a catalyst for developing innovative programmes in growth areas such as general manufacturing, aerospace, bio science, pharmaceutical, gas, oil, petrochemical, transportation, computing and sub-sea industries. “The School aims to address skills shortages, and offer employers a responsive curriculum which will contribute wealth creation and expertise in the region and provide exciting learning opportunities for students of all ages.”

Councillor David Slesenger, chairman of Newcastle City Council Science City Advisory Committee, said: “I welcome the completion of the masterplan, which is a key stage in the evolution of this project, which will give us a powerful platform on which to compete in the worldwide knowledge economy.”

The masterplan for the site describes specific zones or areas, with varying densities and building types, ensuring the whole development is full of character and reflects Newcastle’s industrial heritage and its quality of life.   It is planned to be visually attractive, providing visitor appeal as well as an inspirational working environment.

There is a ‘Facing the City’ zone which will be commercial space for the site with a mix of business and science activities as well as a spacious gateway drawing people in from Barrack Road, Strawberry Place, Gallowgate and Bath Lane.

The central zone, ‘Science at the Heart’, will be for science related research and commercial spin out companies, designed to generate a vibrant atmosphere and a key thoroughfare through the development.

The ‘Living amongst Science’ zone to the north west of the site beside Diana Street, will be a residential area,  independent from, but linked to specialist occupiers, with homes for researchers, visiting specialists as well as under and post graduates.

The homes element in the southern part will be ‘Living in the City’ providing high quality family townhouses and city apartments.      

These zones have been designed to link the expansion of Newcastle city centre right through the site forming a seamless transition into a pleasant residential suburb.  They also sensitively tie the science heart of the site into neighbouring areas such as the nearby West End communities.

The theme of scientific excellence will be carried out in a practical way with the Newcastle Science City partners planning to use alternative energy from renewable sources for the development as a whole.  This plan will not just relate to building energy use, but in other ways such as car-free zones and exploring geothermal heat sources.

The Science Central masterplan, drawn up by EDAW in conjunction with the Newcastle Science City Partners and based on the community consultation which took place last year, will now be translated into a detailed development framework with design guidelines for the site.

Once this stage has been completed Newcastle Science City will then apply for outline planning permission for the development in 2009 to be followed by detailed planning permission and a search for a suitable development partner.  Work is estimated to be able to start on the site in 2010/2011.

Dated: 04/06/2008

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