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Business centre set for demolition.

THE final death knell looks set to be sounded for a council-owned centre for small businesses.

Newcastle City Council is planning to use legal powers to press ahead and demolish the Whitehouse Enterprise Centre in Scotswood.

It is seeking approval from councillors to apply for a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) to force firms to leave and flatten the building as part of regeneration plans.

Council chiefs say the centre will be replaced with a much higher standard of accommodation which will attract more businesses into the area.

But critics say the Whitehouse centre is an important site for people to set up and manage their own businesses if they have been made redundant. The council originally wanted tenants out of the centre so it could be redeveloped as part of the Scotswood Expo site.

But the scheme fell behind due to the recession, meaning the council is only now at the stage of applying for the CPO, with a view to closing the centre in May 2010.

Council chiefs say the centre, built as an abattoir, is old and rundown and believe it would cost more to refurbish than replace it.

Jason Smith chairman of Newcastle Conservatives and Tory spokesman for Newcastle's West End said: "The loss of Whitehouse Enterprise Centre is clearly a bitter blow to the economy of the West End of Newcastle."

Councillors will make a decision on the CPO today.
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Dec 16, 2009
Words:234
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