Plans for student accommodation and a retail development on the former Sainsbury's site in Newcastle has been approved.
A multi-million pound investment will regenerate the land previously used by the supermarket, but also will see the adjoining Civic Offices in Ryecroft cleared to make way for the development and additional parking.
Residential provision will be created for 500 students, to support the growth plans of Keele University and further integrate the university campus within the heart of the town centre.
The £40 million development will create an estimated 500 new on-site jobs, with an additional 500 jobs generated during construction, and a further 220 jobs being supported locally as a result of the spending power of the new student residents.
The application was submitted by HDD Newcastle-under-Lyme Limited – a joint venture between Henry Davidson Developments (HDD) and property regeneration specialist U+I.
It was agreed by the planning committee at Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council last night (7 November).
Richard Croft, Director at HDD, said: “The approval of the plans is great news for everyone, as it will bring a range of new facilities to Newcastle-under-Lyme. We hope to progress with the comprehensive redevelopment as soon as possible, and bring more vibrancy to the town centre.”
Simon Hesketh, Director of Regeneration at U+I, commented: “Our investment will complement existing facilities and provide a catalyst for the town centre to attract more big name retailers, so local people can enjoy better shopping facilities closer to home.
"The proposals will provide a welcome boost to the local economy and that means local people will benefit from attractive new job opportunities in the town.”
Work on the Ryecroft development is expected to begin in 2018.
Cllr. Elizabeth Shenton, Leader of the Borough Council, said: “This decision marks a key milestone in the Council’s attempts to strengthen the retail offer in the town centre – the accessible heart of our community. We partnered with Staffordshire County Council to create this opportunity to bring new retail floor space into the town centre, where it is best located, to complement our strong core of independent and speciality retailers, national chains and historic market.
“Along with the consolidation of public services in the new Castle House building I am confident that this scheme will help to reinvigorate the town centre economy.”
Mark Deaville, Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet member for Commercial, said: “Combined with the focusing of hundreds of staff and public services under one roof in the town centre at Castle House, the Ryecroft development will be the biggest transformation of Newcastle town centre in a generation, supporting taxpayers, shoppers, retailers and Keele University’s expansion.”