The government’s design watchdog has said it has ‘significant concerns’ about 3DReid’s proposed ‘monolithic’ Tesco-led replacement for the doomed Get Carter car park in Gateshead
In a damning CABE design review (read full report here), the commission said the £150 million plans for the site, which include a new supermarket, 900 student flats and a failed to achieve ‘sufficient architectural quality’ and feared for the ‘long-term social, economic and environmental sustainability of this scheme.’
Alluding to the car park’s presence on the skyline, CABE’s design review panel said: ‘It seems particularly crucial that Gateshead city centre should not be dominated by another monolithic development and more work needs to be done to ensure that this will be successful.’
Among the other concerns were:
- The placing of landmark buildings and their forms seem arbitrary and brings to the fore the question of whether there is a need for landmark gestures.
- The curving forms of the student blocks above the supermarket, are too eye catching, and exaggerate the bulk of the building.
- The tiny entrance on the High Street through which close to a 1,000 students will reach their homes every day is unacceptable and its location questionable
- Involving more than one architect in the design of such a large scheme would help integrate it into the town centre, rather than appearing as a mega structure
However CABE did commend the creation of a new town square and welcomed plans for a combined heat and power system could be linked to a wider district network.
In response Doug Wilson, corporate affairs manager for Spenhill, said: ‘Gateshead Council and Spenhill have been working closely for several years to develop a scheme that meets the high aspirations of local people.
‘CABE has welcomed the variety of proposed uses and we are confident that this £150m investment into the area will significantly improve the town centre.’