Tyne and Wear TV

Sunrise Sunset
°C
Today
28/11/2021
°C
Tonight
28/11/2021
°C
Tomorrow
29/11/2021
°C
Saturday
30/11/2021
°C
Sunday
01/12/2021
°C
Monday
02/12/2021
°C

THE BUDGET: Arena denied £20m funding boost

THE BUDGET: Arena denied £20m funding boost

The planned Gateshead Quayside arena complex, Image: Gateshead Council/HOK

A huge new arena complex that will transform the Gateshead Quayside was denied a £20m boost in last week’s Budget.

It has emerged that Gateshead Council chiefs had asked the government for help from its Levelling Up Fund to cover increased construction costs for the massive project, but were turned down by Chancellor Rishi Sunak last week.

Council leader Martin Gannon said that the scheme, which is being built by developer Ask Patrizia, was still financially viable without the extra cash, though its opening date is understood to have been pushed back from late 2023 to early 2024.

The £260m development will feature a 12,500-capacity arena nestled between the Sage and the Baltic, a conference centre, and a hotel – plus new bars, restaurants, public space, and walkways along the Quayside.

Coun Gannon told a North East Combined Authority meeting on Tuesday that last week’s Budget had been “incredibly disappointing” and that the decision not to support the arena project was “short-sighted”.

He added: “The Quayside development in Gateshead, which is a regional facility and will have a transformational impact on the region, will go ahead and it is a viable scheme. But we did seek support from the government of £20m and that was turned down.

“To fail to see the transformational impact of something as comprehensive as that is short-sighted by the government.

“It puts a question mark over what the hell ‘Levelling Up’ means.”

Gateshead Council confirmed that the funding request “highlighted the pressures that the market is bringing at the moment” relating to increased construction costs as a result of Covid-19, Brexit, and the need for more enabling works to make the site ready for development – but said the authority’s cabinet had already agreed to go ahead with the scheme as planned, regardless of whether the Levelling Up bid was approved.

The arena development, which will act as a replacement for the existing Utilita Arena, was approved last November and hailed as a “world class” addition to the North East.

Five North East projects were approved in the first round of allocations from the Levelling Up Fund last week, including the building of a new leisure centre in Newcastle’s outer west and the restoration of the Grainger Market and Old Eldon Square.

A high-profile bid to refurbish the Tyne Bridge, however, was also among the many unsuccessful schemes.

A Department for Levelling Up spokesperson said: “The selection process for the Levelling Up Fund is transparent, robust and fair, and we published the criteria on gov.uk.

“Unsuccessful bidders can submit another bid in the next round and we’ll be working with them to help improve their bids.”

 

Words: Daniel Holland, Local Democracy Reporter


Watch Live


Watch the channel on TV

7

Freeview

195

Sky

159

Virgin Media