Strawberry Place building plans near St James' Park approved

Image source, BBC/Ryder Architecture
Image caption,
The council said "glimpse views" of the ground would be protected

Controversial plans to redevelop land around Newcastle United's football ground have been approved.

Despite a backlash from fans, Newcastle City Council has backed the £120m project to build flats, offices and a hotel on Strawberry Place.

Opponents said it would block views of the stadium and prevent it from being expanded.

The developers said the scheme "would not limit any expansion plan that could feasibly be developed" at the stadium.

Council cabinet member Ged Bell accepted the buildings were taller than originally planned but said people would "still be able to see St James' Park from parts of the city".

"This £120m investment will bring significant benefits to the city - apartments, offices, hotel, new public spaces and better access to a tricky site," he said.

"Most importantly it will create 200 construction jobs and a further 1,200 other jobs giving the city's economy a welcome boost."

Image source, Ryder Architecture
Image caption,
The proposed new buildings would dwarf the Strawberry Pub

Durham-based Helios Investment Partners and Doncaster firm Marrico Asset Management have agreed a £9m deal to buy the land from NUFC owner Mike Ashley.

The plans comprise a 21-storey building with 204 apartments, a 12-storey office block, a 13-storey hotel with 200 bedrooms and another residential building of 10 floors with 124 flats.

The council accepts views of St James' Park would be compromised, but has concluded sufficient care has been taken to protect "glimpse views" of the football ground.

The benefits of the redevelopment would "outweigh the harm caused to the setting of St James' Park", it concluded.

The impact on residents' lives of 52,000 football fans descending on the area was questioned by Labour councillor Paula Holland.

Liberal democrat councillor Henry Gallagher, a NUFC season ticket holder, said match-day noise complaints could lead to the football club being given a "ridiculous" noise abatement order.

Concerns have been raised the plans would prevent the extension of the Tyne and Wear Metro, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

The Sir Bobby Robson Memorial Garden would be relocated above the St James' Metro station.

Image source, BBC/Ryder Architecture
Image caption,
The developers have bought land from NUFC owner Mike Ashley

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