Metro 'leisure station' agreed.
Multi-million pound plans to transform a busy Metro station in the heart of Newcastle into a futuristic leisure complex were approved yesterday.
The pounds 20m development will see the Haymarket station replaced by a four-storey steel and glass building, which will include a new Metro platform and concourse, bar, restaurant, shops, travel centre and office space.
Metro operators Nexus last night said the scheme would offer passengers a vastly improved travel experience without costing taxpayers a penny.
Work on the new station could create up to 300 jobs and will begin in March, subject to a final agreement between Nexus and Newcastle's Closegate Developments, who will be paying for the development.
Yesterday, members of Newcastle City Council's development control committee unanimously approved the plans.
Director general of Nexus Bernard Garner [correct] said: "I'm delighted this development has been given the go-ahead. It's great news for passengers and great news for Newcastle city centre.
"Haymarket station showed the shape of things to come when it opened on the first day of Metro in 1980. It will again be a taste of the future as we raise support for our pounds 500m Metro modernisation programme for the decades ahead."
The scheme will include the demolition of the current station and work is expected to take about 18 months to complete. Both of the station's platforms will be refurbished and a third escalator will be put in place.
A Nexus spokesman said there would be no requirement to completely close the station and inconvenience to passengers would be kept to a minimum.
Haymarket is the second busiest Metro station after the Monument and has 60,000 passenger journeys each week.
The station, which opened in August 1980, was the first to open when the Metro started running trains for passengers between Haymarket and Tynemouth.