Skip to content

Newcastle harnesses trailblazing sustainable ‘community first’ place-making with igloo

12th March, 2024

Aerial shot of gardens in Ouseburn neighbourhood
Share via:

With recent news that the North East will be the third region to benefit from a trailblazer devolution deal – all eyes are on the future opportunities for growth in Newcastle, as we kick off the MIPIM 2024 conference.  

Insiyah Khushnood, Senior Development Manager at leading sustainable developer, igloo, shares how the business’ award-winning approach to placemaking has created catalyst activity across multiple sites in Newcastle. 

A successful partnership  

igloo was thrilled to first sign an agreement with Newcastle City Council in 2012, marking the start of a partnership which will create over 300 new homes and 200,000 sqft of office space – all with sustainability and social value driving the outcomes within the communities being created. It’s a partnership that has demonstrated how a careful approach to placemaking, underpinned by long term stewardship, can not only create communities but see them flourish as the city of Newcastle grows. 

Newcastle’s award-winning neighbourhood 

Well known to most in the city are the multiple award-winning schemes at Ouseburn Valley, an area that has been carefully transformed over two decades – from industrial wasteland to the cultural quarter of the city. A total of 104 new homes at the Mailings and Steenberg’s Yard were developed in a successful public and private sector partnership between Newcastle City Council and Homes England. The result is a brand-new community, fostered through the design process, that has proved to be the driving force behind some of the major transformation of the area – which now stands as a vibrant residential neighbourhood, just a short walk along the Quayside from the city centre. As with all igloo schemes, community investment mechanisms are co-created to ensure the residents play an active part in the management of the area in the future. For example, at Ouseburn, residents automatically find themselves part of the Ouseburn Trust, supported by the proceeds from service charges which are reinvested to support local initiatives and improve the area’s biodiversity, such as the Ouseburn Environment Group.  

The Ouseburn project has also garnered much recognition, including being voted one of the coolest neighbourhoods to live in Time Out in 2022 and winning multiple awards at the National Housing Design awards.  

CGI of The Pioneer office block

The Pioneer

Grade A ‘pioneered’ at scale within Stephenson Quarter  

Nearby in the city centre, the Stephenson Quarter development – initially 4.3 acres of brownfield land next to the station – is now one of Newcastle’s flagship future facing projects. This project has been seamlessly woven into the city’s existing heritage fabric, worked on by a variety of stakeholders to create a vision for a vibrant commercial community. Today, the phased development of Stephenson Quarter has resulted in an area of 39,000 sq ft which is now home to many heritage buildings, all set to be refurbished with a further 200,000 sq ft of offices and 10,000 sq ft of cafes and shops.  

First to market was an exciting vision, developed with architect Allford Hall Monaghan Morris for plot one, The Pioneer. This 10-storey Grade A flexible office building is set to attract much interest as a location option that can’t be beaten in the city. The building will welcome a new generation of innovators to a workplace that brings people, collaboration, and wellbeing together.  

It will stand adjacent to Newcastle’s Central Station with spaces that are light, healthy, and efficient, with outdoor rooftop terraces and commanding views across the River Tyne. The Pioneer will be an exemplar of architectural creativity and human-centric, sustainable design. 

An eclectic mix of spaces are being created across the Stephenson Quarter with The Pattern Shop, a £8.7m office scheme that has emerged out of an iconic Grade II Listed building with its own remarkable industrial legacy. Although the building contains many new facilities, its character is being carefully preserved with many original windows and flooring areas being retained, this will be a location that those seeking a distinctive presence in the city that’s connected to the local community and city centre life.   

Getting the right mix and the right minds together  

We’re proud that our partnership in Newcastle exemplifies how mixed-use areas can be crafted to suit the communities they serve. Collaborating closely with our partners across these schemes, we work hard to find the right combination of uses for all sizes, types, and tenures to suit a range of demographics and lifestyles and ensure we listen and adapt where needed. Starting with the community, we can then look at the design partners we need to work with to create the best outcomes. As our experience shows, keeping this unique to every scheme creates vibrant neighbourhoods with clear identities that stand the test of time. 

So as Newcastle and the North East secures its position as a ‘trailblazer’ region, the demand on our public-private sector partnerships to leverage investment and create great flourishing communities will continue to stay high on the agenda. And as new opportunities emerge and new communities are formed, igloo is proud to be playing a pivotal part in this next chapter of Newcastle’s story. 

Latest articles

Stay up-to-date with latest news, events and more within a great city that never stands still.

Your Business. Your City. Your Future.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Subscribe to Invest Newcastle for updates, news, events and business opportunities.