What will happen to Newcastle's Arena after it is replaced by Quayside venue?

The likes of David Bowie, Beyonce, and Take That have been among the superstars to have played at the arena. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

A big question mark still hangs over the future of Newcastle's Utilita Arena, after a replacement venue was given the go-ahead to be built on the Gateshead Quayside.

The site, which has hosted many of the world's biggest music acts since it opened in 1995, will be closed down when the new Quayside arena is completed in 2023.

Operators ASM Global are remaining tight-lipped about what will become of the venue, formerly known as the Metro Radio Arena and the Telewest Arena after the shutters come down.

The company will be transferring its operations to the bigger, 12,500-capacity site that will be nestled between the Sage and the Baltic but no plans have been confirmed for the existing arena site next to the Redheugh Bridge.

A spokesperson for ASM Global said: "The Utilita Arena Newcastle will continue to operate a busy programme of world class concerts, sports, entertainment and exhibitions, welcoming amazing events, artists, their fans and visitors over the coming years, alongside our key partner Utilita Energy.

"Once the arena at NewcastleGateshead Quays becomes operational, the current arena site in Newcastle will cease to operate and alternative uses for the site will be explored."

Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

A huge patch of derelict land in front of the arena, the old Calders leadworks site, is earmarked for more than 1,000 new homes under a £250 million project from developer Newby that has been likened to an 'Ouseburn of the west'.

Earlier this year, Newcastle City Council approved a new development framework for that whole area, known as the Forth Yards, in the hope of pushing forward with ambitious regeneration plans.

In that document, the council states that "no alternative development scenarios have been tested" for the arena other than it remaining as a leisure venue.

However, it adds that the land could also be home to a series of housing or office blocks if the arena was demolished.

A council spokesperson said: "The site of the Utilita Arena is of great strategic importance to the city.

"It forms part of the Forth Yards area for which the council has a development framework in place.

We see the site as an important part of a major mixed-use development that in future will transform the city with thousands of new jobs and homes.

Newcastle City Council spokesperson

A previous masterplan for the Forth Yards area, which was presented in 2008, could have seen the arena rebuilt as a new leisure and conference centre incorporating a casino.

The likes of David Bowie, Beyonce, and Take That have been among the superstars to have played at the arena, which has also hosted world championship boxing bouts and was previously home to the Newcastle Eagles basketball team.


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