Georgia Pacific Site (opp. St Giles Church by Sammy Bell’s Pottery)
The Society objected to the original application on the following grounds –
[i] Height – It was felt that a six storey building on this site would be out of proportion in comparison to all other town centre buildings.
[ii] Skyline – Newcastle’s character is, at least in part, due to a low level skyline featuring a number of iconic buildings including St Giles church, St George’s Church and the Guildhall. It was felt that a six storey building, so close to the town centre, would irreparably disfigure the skyline and detract from existing landmarks.
[iii] Affect on Listed Buildings – There are a number of Listed Buildings in the immediate vicinity of the Georgia Pacific site. The setting of these buildings would be overpowered by the size and nature of this development.
[iv] Design / Materials – Whilst members have no objections to “good quality” modern design or the use of diverse materials in the Borough it was felt that this design and the intended materials are not appropriate for this prime site in the town centre. Any development so close to the Town Centre Conservation Area must compliment the traditional Georgian / Victorian character of the town and not be in conflict with or overwhelm the surrounding area.
A second application (marginally amended) was made.
An economic argument was made suggesting that, as well as some job creation, additional visitors to the area would spend money in the town. There is little doubt that this is true. However the jobs in food retail and hotels are often low paid and it is difficult to calculate let alone predict visitor spending patterns.
Apart from some changes to the cladding, this second application did not address our profound objections to the original application. It was, however, unfortunately accepted.
The size and design of this prime site development still cause us great concern and we believe it will have a detrimental affect on the settings of Listed Buildings and the Town Centre itself.
It remains to be seen if visitors and shoppers visiting the site on completion will venture across the ring road to frequent town centre shops.