‘Better… but not world class’ – Ouseburn Trust chief reacts to new plan for controversial Malmo Quay site

The scaled-down plans for a controversial Newcastle Riverside development are ‘good, but not world-class’, a prominent Ouseburn charity has claimed.

New designs were revealed on Wednesday for Malmo Quay at the mouth of the Ouseburn, showing how a much-criticized tower intended for the long-vacant site had been reduced by almost half. Developers PfP-igloo cut eight floors from the originally proposed 18-storey apartment complex after encountering a torrent of objections, with opponents calling it “pollutant” and “disastrous”.

Chris Barnard, chief executive of the Ouseburn Trust, told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that the charity has been in talks with PfP-igloo since they agreed to redesign their plans in March and the developer’s commitment had been “much better” from the start. backlash. Barnard said that while the general opinion among members of the Independent Development Trust seems to be that the smaller housing block is an upgrade from its much larger predecessor, not the iconic landmark he hoped could be built on such crucial land.

Read more: Developers cut controversial Ouseburn Tower development by eight stories after public backlash

He added: “The fact that they took into account that he has to relate better to his environment is good, I think they did a better job of it – and it’s not exclusively a question height. I think the previous pattern looked fine from Gateshead and along the quayside, but from Ouseburn it was awful.

“The general feeling is that they’ve done better, but I think a lot of people were disappointed – they were hoping for something that was more of a design statement, but it looks like it could be anywhere. They [PfP-igloo] said to themselves that this is such a key site for the city and lends itself to something world class. Looks good, but it’s not world class.

New plans for Malmo Quay in Newcastle

As was the case in the original project, there are also plans for 13 three-storey townhouses on Malmo Quay and up to 73 houses in a cluster of up to eight-storey buildings on nearby Spillers Quay. . The popular Cycle Hub would also be demolished and moved to a new building in Malmö as part of the reconfiguration proposal.

The Free Trade Inn was a vocal critic of the original plans, fearing the huge tower would dominate the East End skyline and ruin the famous quayside view from the pub’s beer garden, but manager Mick Potts said he would reserve judgment on any new designs until full details of the plans have been posted on Newcastle City Council’s website.

Local councilor Mike Cookson, however, believes the developer’s latest proposal is “likely not to please anyone”. The Liberal Democrat added: “We would have preferred to see a larger scale development present itself.

“We remain disappointed with the way the Council’s development partner has engaged with this program. This is particularly surprising given their excellent track record of community engagement on prior development such as Lower Steenbergs Yard and the Malings.

Around 1,500 objections had been raised against the scheme before a formal consultation deadline on initial plans in February, although it was later declared at a public inquiry into another Quayside development the following month that the number was between 2,000 and 3,000. PfP-igloo said this week that the new “more modest” proposal had been “carefully rethought” following the multitude of objections.

Development Manager Alec Hamlin added: “Malmo Quay is a complex site to develop, but with vast potential as a brownfield site that can provide sustainable townhouses for sale on the market. We have worked on plans that achieve this and respond to the needs of the region and the wider context of the site.

“We have worked at Ouseburn for many years and are incredibly proud of where it has become. The continued development of this area is a key part of building the city’s evolution, creating high quality housing close to the economic heart of Newcastle, meeting the housing needs of the region without developing on the sites of the green belt.

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