Quayside Developments Display Consultants' Flair for Combining Past and Present

Dale Potts
Regeneration work in Newcastle’s Broadchare area is giving a local firm the chance to show how the past can be successfully combined with the present in new developments.

The Newcastle office of international project and cost consultants Faithful+Gould have been involved in the Trinity Gardens scheme at Broadchare for Silverlink Property Developments since 2001.

This £55 million mixed use scheme which includes high quality office space, a multi storey car park, hotel extension and numerous retail units, follows a brief set out by Newcastle City Council as a condition of disposal of the site. This stipulated that any development was to have due regard to the site’s rich history with the scale and massing of any new buildings being entirely complementary to their surroundings.

On an adjacent site, the Live Theatre is also preparing for significant refurbishment and extension works. Here, the same design team, including Faithful+Gould in the role of quantity surveyors and project managers, is involved again. In this case, refurbishment of the theatre’s existing premises at 27 Broadchare will be undertaken as well as expansion into neighbouring 29 Broadchare. Both buildings are Grade I Listed as well as being in a conservation area.

The Trinity Gardens site has records dating back to the 13th century when it was used for shipbuilding and other maritime industries and recently the new town wall, dating back to the 14th century, was revealed when undergrowth was cut back during the wider clearance of the site.

Delivery of multi-faceted projects of this scale and complexity against a rigorous construction timetable require a great deal of planning and thorough attention to detail, as director Martin Round explains "On the Trinity Gardens scheme we have been at pains to ensure that the development is sympathetic to the historic remains of the city wall still present on the site. To this end, we have created a significant timber walkway and viewing platforms as part of the works to afford easier access to the site and to allow the public to see the historic Corner Tower from a new perspective. Viewing platforms will also be attached to the new multi storey car park. "With the Live Theatre we have designed and planned the development works so that we can preserve and enhance the heritage aspects of the theatre building. We have been liaising closely with English Heritage throughout as well as the City Council’s conservation officer and the county archaeologist."

As the Live Theatre and the former Trinity House Maritime Museum are in a conservation area the renovation work is utilising many of the original 18th century materials within the new construction work. This process requires great care to ensure that the character and heritage of the buildings is maintained. Live Theatre’s manager, Jim Beirne, says "This is a particularly demanding and challenging project for the design team as it seeks to combine the old with the commercial and aesthetic requirements of present day building occupiers. The renovation works will add significant value to both the theatre and the surrounding area and we are delighted with the progress."

With the Trinity Gardens scheme now on its home stretch Ian Stewart, Silverlink’s development director agrees that the scheme has presented its own unique challenges. He adds: "This has certainly been the most complex scheme that we have worked on, given the many legal, historical, geological and commercial issues. The City Council, one of our major partners, has been particularly supportive throughout and we have all gained valuable experience on which to build in the future. "From the start, we have been committed to creating an area of outstanding commercial, cultural and aesthetic appeal with a major emphasis on the public realm to compete with similar schemes in other European destinations. We are well on the way to achieving this."

Funding for the £4m Live Theatre development has come from Heritage Lottery. Other members of the design team are Waring & Netts, architects, Southern Green, landscape architects, WSP, consulting engineers.