The Guildhall is once again shrouded in scaffolding, as the reincarnation of Newcastle’s iconic building is well under way.
Several Councils ago a decision was taken to place this building into the commercial letting sector. This would relieve the local taxpayers of the cost of maintaining it and, hopefully, provide a useful yearly income.
Regent Inns agreed a thirty five year, full maintenance contract for the Grade II property.
Alas, after a couple of years the outlet was deemed a failure and closed, with thirty two years of the letting contract still to run. Despite considerable efforts by national agents, Regent were unable to transfer the lease, although Cheltenham and Gloucester did agree to acquire it, but pulled out at the eleventh hour.
Following commercial negotiations with Regent, the Council agreed to take back the property, with compensation for the loss of income from the unexpired period of the lease, to use it as a venue for Council Services.
Detailed consultations have taken place with English Heritage to ensure that the renovations are in keeping with the requirements of its listed character.
We all look forward to the re-opening of the Guildhall, planned for December, and wish it every success as ‘the face’ of Newcastle.