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Revolution spreads in city centre.

Byline: By Peter Young

Shopping street flats plan

A housing revolution which has seen droves of people move back into the heart of Newcastle has now spread to the city's premier shopping street.

Councillors have approved plans to convert upper floor offices in Northumberland Street into flats.

Planners say it is the first proposal of its kind in the street and believe it will help city centre regeneration by bringing vacant premises back into use.

Nightingale Estates was given the go-ahead by the city council development control committee to convert the upper floors of Jackson House into 20 flats ( but not everyone is happy.

Some councillors believe Northumberland Street is the wrong place for flats and the proposal was contrary to housing policies.

They are concerned it is outside the Newcastle Gateshead Housing Pathfinder project set up to revive the housing market in areas of low demand.

The plan is to convert the second to fifth floors, which are mostly empty, above Greggs, Burger King and a delicatessen.

City centre living is becoming increasingly popular and upper floors in other shopping areas, including Grainger Street and Clayton Street West, have already been converted into flats.

Planners say there is no reason why the policy should not be extended into Northumberland Street but some councillors disagreed.

Coun John O'Shea strongly opposed the plan and said: "It's a prime retail site and this will be the first residential accommodation for many years. I will vote against because I don't think it is appropriate for housing."

Vice-chairman Coun John Gordon said he understood the concerns but supported the application which had to be considered on its merits.

"We've had a drift away from the city centre and now we are getting a drift back by people who want to live in the centre," he said.
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jun 7, 2004
Words:302
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