New boost for £500m vision to turn former Newcastle hospital site into 'world-class' development

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The old hospital grounds will be transformed with research labs, NHS and other health-related facilities.

A £500 million regeneration of Newcastle’s former General Hospital into new homes and research facilities has been hailed as a “pioneering new neighbourhood”.

A revised masterplan for Newcastle University’s huge plans to redevelop the West End site into a “world class” hub focused on giving people longer, healthier lives was given the backing of councillors on Friday.

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The 10-year project to create a ‘Health Innovation Neighbourhood’ will see the old hospital grounds transformed with research labs, NHS and other health-related facilities, specialist housing, and other developments geared around healthy ageing.

Newcastle City Council’s planning committee gave its consent to the latest designs for the 29-acre Westgate Road site, which will see what remains of the vacant old hospital buildings demolished, at a hearing at the Mansion House in Jesmond.

Afterwards, university vice-chancellor Prof Chris Day said: “Our planned Health Innovation Neighbourhood builds on our world-leading expertise in healthy ageing and will be the first of its kind in the UK, tackling major health and social challenges with the aim of identifying solutions that will benefit people here in the North East and beyond.

“We are delighted that the detailed masterplan of our exciting development has been given the green light to put ageing and health at the heart of a flourishing community which will bring together research, innovation, commerce and living.”

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The development, which was recently awarded funding through the North East’s trailblazer devolution deal, first came before the council two years ago – but was never formally signed off, as the university worked to provide more detail in the plans and resolve issues around the project’s impact on the city’s transport network.

It will include 1,250 homes, including supported living units and specialist accommodation for people living with dementia and traumatic injuries.

Two transport hubs, public spaces, shops, and a range of research and education facilities are also planned.

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Newcastle City Council’s director of investment and growth, Michelle Percy, said: “I am delighted that the Health Innovation Neighbourhood has been granted outline planning permission. The former site of the old Newcastle General Hospital presents a wonderful opportunity to create a pioneering new neighbourhood that offers intergenerational living, healthy streets, sustainable travel and research and development that will put Newcastle on the map.

“Not only does it propose 1,250 new homes of various tenures but new open spaces, shops, restaurants, and leisure facilities. This 29-acre brownfield site has looked relatively underused since the hospital was demolished many years ago so I am pleased that it is destined to become a new part of the city with pioneering place-making and be brought back to life with a mixed-use, balanced development that will boost the economy and create good quality jobs.”

The regeneration of the plot will be led by a joint venture between developers Kajima and Genr8 Developments.

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