Byker warehouse to be transformed into ‘unique’ new bar, live music venue and arts hub

Council chiefs have backed plans for the cultural hub in Byker and Ouseburn.

A disused warehouse in Newcastle’s East End will be transformed into a “unique” new food and drink, live music, and arts venue.

Council chiefs have backed plans for a major new cultural hub for Byker and Ouseburn. The proposals will see an industrial building in St Michael’s Road repurposed as a “hub” for the area’s creative industries, which will be known as The Grove.

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The site, likened to developments like The Cluny and the Toffee Factory in Ouseburn, will feature a cafe and bar, a live music area, offices, and function space that could host weddings, art exhibitions, and dance performances. Newcastle City Council approved the plans, put forward by the Brain Trust Collective, in late April.

The planning application states: “The Grove will be a multi-faceted venue for the performing arts, live music and creative enterprise with a focus on local artists, craft breweries and food vendors. Each member of the Brain Trust Collective has a deep-rooted history with the immediate surrounding area and are equally passionate about giving back to the community and creating an inclusive space for a wide range of demographics.

“At its heart, as a live performance venue, The Grove will be established as a national touring venue by using the organisation’s collective expertise to programme a varied schedule of events, covering a multitude of genres. The building and its associated spaces will also provide an accessible resource, providing training opportunities for younger people who are interested in music and live performance alongside a space which local theatre groups can use.

“With The Grove being at the heart of the creative sector in Newcastle, a number of prominent local artists will be commissioned to produce murals that celebrate both the industrial and creative history of the area. The Grove will be fitted out to match the high standards set out by the creative community to create a bespoke offering which supports local independent business.”

Documents lodged with the city council state that provisional deals are already in place with local craft brewers Almasty, Anarchy, Alpha Delta and Two by Two.

It is proposed that the site, formerly occupied by a roofing company and next to the St Michael’s MOT Test Centre, would open until 11pm on weekdays and midnight at the weekend. Live music will also be limited to weekends and evenings and will stop at 10.30pm.

The application adds: “The proposals will create a new mixed use hub with a focus on the creative industries alongside a crafted food and drink offer within a repurposed industrial building. The design proposals will create a unique venue close to the Ouseburn which has grown its reputation in recent years as a thriving and vibrant urban neighbourhood home to many creative industries and businesses.

“It is known as an area which provides business space alongside artists’ studios, rehearsal rooms etc. The proposals for The Grove at St Michael’s Road reflect the ongoing regeneration of the Ouseburn Valley and the demand for properties in the Ouseburn.”