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New era FORTYNE Bridge after its 90th birthday.

Byline: COREENA FORD Business writer coreena.ford@reachplc.com @Scoopford

GRAND plans to convert one of the Tyne Bridge's towers into an events space for weddings, art shows and bar and club events have been unveiled by a leading leisure group.

The two granite towers at the end of the bridge were created as warehouses but have not been used for many years, aside from a few art shows and an illegal rave.

To mark the bridge's 90th birthday, however, a leading lesisure group wants to open up the grand structure to the public in what it has described as a "flagship scheme" for the sevenstorey North Tower.

The proposals are being put forward by Tokyo Industries, the Newcastle group behind a string of more than 30 UK clubs, bars and hotels including the city's Waterside Hotel, Tup Tup Palace and the Riverside, as well as venues in York, Bradford, Huddersfield, Leeds and Manchester.

The leisure group has enlisted Manchester firm Arca Architects to submit plans to Newcastle City Council, with images showing how the 5,700sqft of unique space could be used for everything from corporate events and weddings to dinners and live music shows.

Tokyo Industries says it has already negotiated a lease with Newcastle City Council for the use of the building, which was designed by architect Robert Burns Dick.

The heritage and design statements says: "The applicant proposes to use the first floor of the structure as a multi-purpose arts, leisure and events venue, for corporate hire, weddings, bar and club events, and so on. The aspiration is for this unique space to become the setting for spectacular additions to the events calendar in the city, complementing the existing leisure events on show.

"The project represents a unique opportunity to safely open up and occupy an extraordinary space hidden from public view since its completion.

"The proposals are compatible with existing aims for the city centre, whilst complementing the offer to those seeking a spectacular venue for product launches, art shows, entertainment events, dinners, or weddings."

Weddings and corporate events could host 150 people, while more intitmate dinners could cater for 120 people, and 150 people could fit into the space for live music events, according to the plans.

Arca Architects highlights the tower's importance within the city, and how its re-use could celebrate its creation.

The statement says: "The Tyne Bridge North Pier has high historic value. Standing in the heart of the commercial and civic quarter of the city, it is a building that occupies a significant place in the heart of the people of Newcastle.

"The design of the structure was developed to use the skills of unemployed shipbuilders, who proudly built the new landmark for their hometown.

"The structure is part of the Tyne Bridge as a whole, with exceptionally high communal significance.

"The intention of the applicant is to apply a light touch to the interventions, whilst ensuring that they are reversible. The use of the space is designed to be flexible and adaptable for a range of leisure uses, so as to bring the structure back into use and generate income to maintain it for the future.

"The proposed alterations strike a balance between the commercial needs of the applicant to render the space more visible and welcoming whilst retaining the original sense of volume and engineering drama.

"The applicant's project offers the opportunity to give the public access to the interior of the building for the first time, lending them a new appreciation for the engineering excellence that their city has fostered.

"Tokyo Industries operates a wide range of leisure operations on a national and international basis. They have a number of venues locally across Newcastle city centre, and have won numerous awards for their dynamic and creative approach to the bar, leisure, restaurant and entertainment industry.

"The applicant's ambition for the adaptive reuse of the Tyne Bridge North Pier is to open the space to the public for the first time in its history, 90 years after it was completed. Tokyo regard the project as a flagship scheme, of lasting significance for the city and its people."

A council spokesperson said: "The Tyne Bridge is an iconic landmark. This is an interesting and ambitious application that will be subject to the usual planning process."

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The north tower of the Tyne Bridge. Below, impressions of how it could look inside
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Oct 20, 2018
Words:733
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