Gateshead Council has today (Wednesday) approved revised plans for Sage Arena and International Conference Centre (ICC), with delivery of the former component of the project pushed back to 2027.
The Council’s planning committee unanimously granted permission for revised plans for the ICC and 12,500-capacity Arena, designed by HOK, as well as an urban park, which will enhance biodiversity in the area and provide both pedestrian link and lift access.
Whilst the development most recently gained planning permission in March 2022, a revised planning application was submitted in March this year due to design and scheme changes. A dual branded 344-bed Novotel/ibis hotel has been relocated to vacant land within Baltic Quarter, directly opposite The Sage development. The land occupied by the hotels in the original design will be opened up as the urban park.
Changes within the planning application also included updates to the timeline for the delivery of The Sage. The Council said a number of global factors outside the control of itself and its partners have impacted, and are continuing to impact, on the development.
The issues include the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on the supply chain, inflationary pressures, energy prices and the war in Ukraine. To mitigate these impacts the developer, Ask:PATRIZIA, has broken down the scheme into smaller delivery packages:
- The Sage International Conference Centre will be opened in autumn 2025
- The dual branded hotel will be opened in autumn 2025
- The Sage Arena will open in 2027
Today’s news comes after the opening date for The Sage was pushed back to 2025 in January. Earlier, Gateshead Council secured £20m (€23.4m/$25.9m) from the UK Government’s Levelling Up Fund to support the development of the project, which is expected to cost around £300m.
The mixed-use development will be operated by ASM Global and anchored by the 12,500-seat arena, which will host music and cultural events as well as sports such as boxing, darts and basketball. It had originally been hoped that the arena could open this year, but the completion date was initially pushed back to 2024.
Gateshead Council today said construction work is due to begin this autumn on the ICC, which will include 5,720sqm of state of the art exhibition space, 2,520sqm of adaptable meeting space, 17 conference rooms and a banqueting suite. The ICC will be the only such facility between Yorkshire and Scotland, with the Council claiming it has already received “very strong interest” from the international conference market in hosting in Gateshead.
Martin Gannon, Leader of Gateshead Council, said: “Today marks another major milestone in the project and we’re looking forward to bringing the Sage Arena and ICC to Gateshead, attracting high-profile events and conferences to our region.
“The development will bring numerous opportunities and benefits to our residents, attracting visitors and creating jobs and bringing millions of pounds of investment to Gateshead and the North East.”