Brewery consultation gives positive feedback

Over 180 residents and local businesspeople attended Newcastle Science City’s masterplan consultation sessions with the majority of people very much in favour of the ambitious plans for the former brewery site.

The sessions held in St James Park and St Matthews Church Hall, Summerhill started with an overview of the plan to create a new science quarter in the city centre and then the audience divided into small groups to give their individual views on the £700m development.

Among the opinions put forward were the importance of animating the public space on the development so people used the area and it became a lively place to visit and relax. The masterplanners, EDAW, recognised this need and will include plans to address this issue in the next stage of their designs.

Peter Arnold, chief executive, Newcastle Science City said: “We had a tremendous response to the consultation and the questions and views put forward show that local people have put a great deal of thought into how this development should take shape. The support of the local community is fundamental to the success of Science Central and we will now digest their opinions and ensure they are included in the on-going design of the site.”

At both consultation sessions, the participants stressed the need for the development to have clear links to the West End of the city as well as the city centre, a point the masterplanners have ensured is captured in the site’s current blueprint.

Parking was another important issue for local residents and the masterplanning team pledged to make the development’s parking and traffic plans beneficial to the area rather than adding to congestion. A detailed transport study will be undertaken as part of the project’s outline planning application and it will clarify how to rectify any potential problems. The whole site has also been designed to be easy to walk or cycle around from one side to another, reducing the need for cars and making it a pleasant place to live and work..

Residents were also keen to find out where the money was going to come from to fund the development. Peter Arnold explained Newcastle Science City’s partners would be looking for a development company to work with them to develop the site as a prosperous economic centre of the city with science and innovation at the heart.

People had a number of interesting suggestions during the sessions as well, including using the rich and varied heritage of the area for street names on Science Central.

The next phase in the development’s plans are the preparation of an outline planning application which will be submitted early 2009, followed by the procurement of a development partner and detailed planning application in summer 2009.

Further information on the masterplan is available on the Newcastle Science City website www.newcastlesciencecity.com.