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£20m boost for Gateshead international conference and exhibition centre

Central Government has revealed Gateshead Council has been successful in its bid to secure £20 million of Levelling Up funding, which will be invested into The Sage arena, conference, and exhibition centre.

The Council submitted the bid in August 2022, to fulfil the Council’s plans for the development of The Sage.  The Government has recognised the economic impact the development will have, how it is a vital piece in the jigsaw for increasing opportunities for residents to secure long term sustainable jobs, promoting local business, restoring civic pride in the borough and bringing millions of pounds of investment to Gateshead and the North East.

The Sage is a visionary project which will transform the region’s visitor economy and drive international presence. Like many other major schemes, the project has been impacted by escalating construction costs and international crises. However, the developer has carried out a full review of project budgets to ensure cost efficiencies while the Government has been deciding on the LUF allocations.

As part of the cost efficiencies, two hotels have been relocated to vacant land within Baltic Quarter, directly opposite The Sage development.  A planning application has been submitted by the developer for approval to relocate the hotels. The land occupied by the hotels in the original design will be opened up as an urban park, bringing valuable green space into the area and enhancing biodiversity.

The Sage will act as a catalyst for the regeneration of Gateshead, with a wider Riverside Renaissance unlocking a potential £2billion of investment, which will be fundamental in transforming the riverside from Gateshead Quays to the Derwent Valley. The Sage is projected to drive an additional one million visitors to the Quayside which will lead to a rising footfall through Gateshead town centre impacting positively on local business, plus driving tourism and the visitor economy in the North East.

The Council is also working closely with the private sector to attract investment to the borough. The Metrocentre Partnership are working closely with the Council to understand the impact The Sage will have on them and are focusing on the regeneration of the Metrocentre and surrounding area to coincide with the opening of the new arena, conference, and exhibition centre.

Martin Healy, the Chairman of Metrocentre stated “We have a Metro Centre masterplan coming forward which is a driver of economic activity within Gateshead and we want that masterplan to be part of the levelling up agenda. As a major employer of 6,500 people directly and 3,000 indirectly and contributing £500m to the local economy Metro Centre is an important ingredient of Gatesheads long yet growth prospects”.

The Sage represents such a good example of what levelling up means and it will help grow the visitor economy and put the North east on the map and we look forward to the Metro Centre being a part of that revitalised tourism offer for the North east”. 

Through attracting businesses, Gateshead will benefit from more long-term sustainable jobs for residents.  The investment of local and national business will increase the council’s income through additional business rates which will support vital council services and help bring forward further areas of residential and commercial development.

Councillor Martin Gannon, Leader of Gateshead Council said:

“It’s great that government has recognised the benefits of The Sage development, especially during the current economic climate. As a Council we are dedicated to ensuring The Sage is delivered; so that we can deliver employment opportunities to our residents of Gateshead and beyond. The economic benefits of The Sage will radiate out as local businesses and hospitality benefit from the increase of trade”.

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