AN £18.5m restaurant and retail scheme which would regenerate a rundown site in Gateshead is receiving widespread community support.

North East firm Fintry Estates and planning consultants Lichfields recently (May 17) held a public consultation on the plans for land to the north of the A184 Felling bypass.

The  3.3ha site at Albany Road is set to feature a 2,000 sq m discount foodstore, additional retail, food and beverage units and around 450 car parking spaces – and create almost 200 jobs.

Graham Wilson, of Fintry Estates, said: “We were delighted at the positive response of local residents and businesses to our initial proposals.

“Everyone we spoke to was keen to see this important site come forward for new shopping and leisure uses which improve the existing range of provision in the local area.”  

Councillor John Eagle, Gateshead Council member for the area, is backing regeneration efforts.

He said: “It is great to see residents and users of local services attending the consultation at Gateshead College event to have their say on the proposals. 

“The land in question is in a strategically important location for Gateshead and we need to get it cleaned up so it can help contribute to the wider vision for the area.”

Lichfields says it is keen to ensure as many people as possible have the opportunity to see the proposals and air their views.
A website has been made available at www.albanyregeneration.co.uk for comments, which is available until Monday June 11, 2018.

Lichfields says it hopes to submit a planning application this summer, which will take into account feedback received as part of the consultation  programme.

Should planning permission be granted, then it is anticipated that construction could begin in 2019, with completion in 2020.

Jonathan Wallace, of Lichfields, added: “The overall reaction to the scheme was very positive, with nearly all those completing the questionnaires supporting the scheme and agreeing that there was a need to regenerate this site.”

A portion of the land is currently occupied by the ‘Dynamix’ indoor skatepark, however most of the site has lain unused for more than a decade.

Fintry is working in partnership with Hargreaves Services plc. Mr Wilson added: “The majority of the site has been vacant for over 15 years, without attracting any interest in industrial or office redevelopment.

“Our proposals remain at an early stage but would regenerate this very prominent site, and introduce new uses which offer the potential to generate around 190 jobs.”