‘FRESH, quirky and different’ were the criteria used by national planning consultancy DPP Planning when looking for a new Tyneside office.

Director Jo Robison also wanted somewhere central, and found the perfect fit in newly-opened Haylofts business centre in Newcastle’s Haymarket.

“The Covid pandemic made us think about our offices, and initially we thought we would need a smaller space as people were working from home effectively. However, we then came full circle and decided our young and talented team really needed new offices that were fresh, quirky, different and bespoke,” explained Jo, head of DPP’s Newcastle team who have now moved into the former Newcastle Brewery stables.

“Haylofts offers us some great break-out areas for team working and event spaces that our clients and contacts will enjoy. It has a warm, lively and refreshing feel to the place and our new offices will help us take our business forward in the way we want to.”

She continued: “We have developed an effective hybrid model of remote and office working, which generates the best results for our team and our clients. It is also what we are seeing from a number of the projects we are working on here in the North East and across the country, where office space will still have an important role to play for businesses.”

DPP is an independent planning consultancy with five offices across the UK. The company provides planning services to clients across all sectors to assist in realising development potential and optimising the use of land, buildings and portfolios.

The Newcastle team has worked on several major local projects recently, including Hadrian’s Tower, the £46m, 27-storey luxury apartment block and rooftop champagne bar in Newcastle city centre. Jo and her team successfully co-ordinated the planning application process for owners The High Street Group.

Other recent projects include the planning process for the former Brett Oils site in Gateshead, again on behalf of The High Street Group; the £250m mixed use development of Quayside West on the former Calders Leadworks off Skinnerburn Road; two prime office buildings on the former Vaux site in Sunderland and DPP is also working with Sunderland City Council on the planning application for the new high-level pedestrian bridge over the River Wear, connecting the Vaux site and city centre with the Stadium of Light.

“We’ve been really busy recently and took on another two new graduates, taking our team up to eight, prior to our move to Haylofts. Our work is right across the spectrum, from major developments such as Hadrian’s Tower and the £400m Aykley Heads Business Park development in Durham, through to change of use applications and barn conversions.

“This range obviously helps our young team develop and grow their skills – they start on smaller projects and learn as they go along to be able to work on some of our much larger projects,” said Jo.

She added that, apart from rethinking their own accommodation strategy, the Covid pandemic had not really affected DPP’s pipeline of work: “We had to rethink some of our planning strategies to adapt to the situation quickly on behalf of our clients, but the ability to hold virtual meetings and councils moving relatively quickly to remote decision-making has meant the planning process has continued and we have secured planning permissions for some great schemes lately. Some of these will start on site in early 2021 and be significant for our region as we emerge from the pandemic.

“What has changed things is the effect of the Government’s ‘levelling up’ agenda. There’s no doubt that more is being spent on major projects across the north, and that has helped us, as well as improving the region’s infrastructure. More grants are available for large-scale projects and the Government is serious about moving jobs, and even whole departments, out of Whitehall up here,” she said.

“Levelling up is helping and is making a difference but it must continue with the devolution of more power to our region,” she added.

For more on DPP, go to www.dppukltd.com.

Haylofts provides innovative office space in the old Newcastle Brewery stables on St Thomas Street, adjacent to Haymarket travel interchange. The renovated space has 22 offices, seven meeting rooms, a lecture space for 80 and broadband speeds of up to 100Gbps, a first for business centres in Newcastle.

Horse-theme branding for Haylofts has been provided by renowned North-East street artist Pete Manning, aka Prefab77, who has created exclusive, bespoke equine wall art for the centre.

If you’re interested in an office or space at Haylofts, or would like a tour, email laura.goldston@hyhubs.com