Science Central - A north east legacy in the making

One of the country’s most ambitious regeneration projects is now under way in the heart of Newcastle city centre.

Work recently began on the 24-acre Science Central site – a development which promises to be an exemplar in sustainability, connecting and restoring a key area in the west end of Newcastle and creating a new urban quarter in the city centre.

Marking an exciting milestone for the development, contractors recently commenced essential site-enabling work, including the extraction of near surface coal which will create a solid and sustainable platform for the overall project to be delivered from.

On completion of the enabling works, development of the first phase of landscaping and the first building will commence in February 2013, with expected completion by autumn 2014.

Creating jobs

With the aim of attracting hi-tech firms to locate within the city, the project partners Newcastle City Council and Newcastle University are committed to creating a lasting legacy at Science Central, and with the planned creation of 1,900 jobs over the next 15-20 years, the development will support economic growth in the area and will bring a much needed boost to the local neighbourhood.

Job opportunities will be created at all levels within the science and technology sectors – from technical posts right through to doctoral research – alongside roles within the retail and leisure developments which will also be on the site.

Science Central development director Colin MacPherson said: “We are sure that the local community can recognise the benefits and embrace the opportunities, which will be generated out of Science Central. It is our vision that it will form a large part of the fabric of the city and become a vibrant quarter where local people can work, play and live.”

Building on the city’s expertise in sustainability

Forming part of Newcastle Science City - an initiative established to promote Newcastle as a city of science excellence and support the attraction of investment into the city - the development will build on Newcastle’s existing knowledge and scientific expertise at the Centre for Life and Newcastle University’s Campus for Ageing and Vitality, located on the site of the former General Hospital.

Science Central will become a focus for the city’s expertise in sustainability, including areas such as electric vehicles, low carbon technologies and marine sciences. To support this Newcastle University will locate some of its sustainability research, through the expansion of its Institute for Research on Sustainability (NiRES), on the site.

Alongside this University expertise, the first building on site will provide a business support hub and state of the art facilities for start up science based companies. Future plans also include a ‘live-zone’ accommodating approximately 350 new residential properties, which will be designed to encourage the growth of family living within the city centre.

Get involved

Developers will host regular update meetings to ensure the community is kept informed of each key phase, with local residents playing an important role in helping determine how the site is used during the interim development period.

This autumn will see an exciting campaign launch the Science Central development, involving local people who have volunteered to promote the site within the North East and beyond.

Alongside this, whilst enabling works are progressing, a temporary wall is being erected around the perimeter of the site, with viewing panels to enable the public to view the early stages of the project.

Whilst still in the initial phase of development, stakeholders are keen to build relationships with companies, investors and members of the local community interested in being part of Science Central’s future. More details can be found at www.newcastlesciencecentral.com

You can also keep up to date with developments as they progress in upcoming editions of City Life.

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