Newcastle United has today (Friday) announced that a planning application for a new fan zone adjacent to its St. James’ Park stadium has been formally approved by local authorities.
‘St. James’ STACK, powered by Sela’ intends to be a food, drink and entertainment option for those attending matches and events at the English Premier League football club’s stadium, as well as a midweek leisure and social destination.
An initial planning application for the fan zone was lodged with Newcastle City Council in July, with the club releasing renderings of the scheme earlier this month. Newcastle has teamed up with STACK, which has opened up several entertainment venues in the region, and Sela, its main shirt sponsor, on the project. Sela is a Saudi-owned sports event, retail and rights company.
St. James’ STACK will be built using repurposed shipping containers around a central plaza and main stage area and is expected to open in spring 2024, with an initial lifespan of three years as the club explores potential uses for the site.
The main stage, complete with a big screen, will be designed to deliver an immersive experience for live entertainment and broadcasting sporting events, while there will be six bars and 10 street food units.
The fan zone will complement recent development projects around the Strawberry Place site, which sits in the shadow of the stadium’s Gallowgate End. The land at Strawberry Place was sold off by United’s previous owner, Mike Ashley, back in 2019, before being reacquired by the club in February as part of wider plans by the Saudi owners to improve facilities at St. James’ Park.
The land was previously a car park and was most recently used to accommodate materials for nearby construction projects. United said it is anticipated the fan zone will create a host of economic and employment opportunities for the city centre, attracting local businesses as both vendors and suppliers, and stimulating additional footfall for neighbouring businesses and services.
The site will also create 150 full-time and part-time jobs, with Newcastle United Foundation’s employability programme – NU Futures – forging links with the fan zone.
Formal planning approval follows a comprehensive community consultation process by the club and STACK, with members of the public and neighbouring businesses recently visiting St. James’ Park to meet senior executives to review plans.