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FaulknerBrowns wins go-ahead for Newcastle's tallest tower

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FaulknerBrowns Architects has won the go-ahead for contentious proposals to build a 26-storey tower in Rutherford Street, Newcastle 

The 12,500m2 tower will include 96 one-bedroom and 66 two-bedroom private-rental apartments and at 82m tall will be higher than the city’s current title-holder – the 80m Vale House flats built in 1968.

Approved by councillers earlier this month, the scheme on the site of a derelict former warehouse building, received 66 letters of support and 26 objections.

Among those who voiced concern about the tower were Historic England, the Northumberland and Newcastle Society and the Newcastle Conservation Advisory Panel.

Historic England feared the scheme could negatively imapct on the nearby Grade II-listed Co-operative Print Works building, Town Walls, Grade II-listed Charlotte Square and Grade I-listed 13th Century Blackfriars Dominican Priory.

The heritage body said: ’The tower would intrude upon the setting of each asset, causing a slight to moderate degree of harm to their significance.

’[We] acknowledge that the building may be considered to add to the overall architecture of the City but in terms of the historic environment we do not feel it contributes positively to the special architectural and historic interest of the conservation area by virtue of its markedly different scale and because of the negative impact upon the [these] heritage assets.’

The Northumberland and Newcastle Society also hit out at the ’the mass and height and design’, which it claimed were ’inappropriate to the character’ of the area adding: ’[The] proposed design of the building presents a monolithic, utilitarian and slab-sided facade, dwarfing the surrounding buildings and would be an undesirable dominance which will detract from the surrounding existing architecture and has therefore no innovative value.’

Anna Browning, the council’s urban design officer also questioned the suitability of the site for a tall building but admitted she was ’not opposed to the proposed architectural design’.

The city’s planning officers, who recommended the scheme for approval, said the ‘level of benefit that would flow from this development is significant’ adding: ‘[On balance], the benefits of the scheme which are powerful material considerations, outweigh the less than substantial harm to the setting of the heritage assets.

Paul Rigby, partner at FaulknerBrowns Architects, said: ‘We are extraordinarily proud of what we have presented to the planning committee and the decision to approve our proposals.

’We have worked extremely hard to design a building of the highest quality and we believe this development will create a positive landmark for the city, representative of its ambitious and forward thinking outlook.’

The tower, which is backed by Citygrove Securities, is being built exclusively for the residential rental market.

Andrew Rennie, managing director of Citygrove, the project promoter, added: ‘We welcome the planning committee’s decision to approve this landmark building, which will give a new lease of life to a derelict brownfield site in the city centre. We are grateful for the support the application has received and look forward to construction works commencing.’

Project data

Location Newcastle upon Tyne 
Type of project residential
Client Citygrove Securities
Architect FaulknerBrowns Architects
Landscape architect Camlin Lonsdale
Planning consultant DPP
Structural engineer 3E Consulting Engineers
M&E consultant Desco
Quantity surveyor Deacon and Jones
Lighting consultant GL Hearn
Gross internal floor area 12,500m²

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