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Planning approved for multi-million pound Newcastle United Foundation community hub

Newcastle United Foundation’s vision of building a state-of-the-art community hub for education, sports and wellbeing a goal-kick away from St. James’ Park has been given the green-light.

The charity’s move to a new home has been years in the making in a bid to create an accessible and inclusive facility, providing the perfect space for learning, recreation, exercise and community work.

The three-story hub includes a spectacular 4G rooftop pitch offering views of St. James’ Park, innovative classrooms, high-tech digital hub, four-court sports hall, smart fitness suite and accessible changing areas, event and meeting spaces and open-plan offices.

The Foundation’s vision of building a united future is being brought to life by Newcastle-based Ryder Architecture, with their innovative designs set to transform the former site of Murray House community centre in Newcastle’s West End.

Ryder was appointed to produce detailed proposals for the build after the Foundation received a significant £2.6m investment from the North of Tyne Combined Authority (NTCA) to transform the way young people transition from education to the world of work via the ambitious NU Futures scheme to be delivered in the hub.

Despite the global coronavirus pandemic putting plans on hold for organisations across the country, Ryder, along with team members Black and White Engineering, OOBE, SHED and Todd Milburn, ensured the project’s progression by working together remotely.

Newcastle City Council services have however faced disruption, with the local authority’s Planning Committee adapting its planning processes by introducing temporary delegated powers for select proposals.

It was Planning Committee Chair Councillor Hazel Stephenson’s decision to allow the Foundation’s planning application to be considered and approved under the new terms of delegation.

Sarah Medcalf, Deputy Head of Newcastle United Foundation, said: “We are delighted that planning permissions has been granted and all our efforts are now focused on creating a building that will serve the community for generations to come.

“The generous contributions we have received so far will support the Foundation’s missions to build our new home which will become a hub promoting excellence in education, pathways into employment and the physical and mental wellbeing of participants of all ages and abilities.”

She added: “Ryder has provided an excellent service throughout the planning process and I would like to thank the project team for their professionalism, knowledge and support in reaching this important milestone.”

Developers expect construction to begin in autumn 2020, with hopes of doors opening to the public in autumn 2021 when children, families, retirees, schools, community groups and businesses can use the state-of-the-art space.

Alexandra Blaylock, Project Architect at Ryder, said: “Helping the Foundation to realise their ambitions for their new home has been a hugely rewarding journey for Ryder.

“Learning about the great work provided created a lot of passion within the design team to provide an architecturally and socially valuable building for all users.”

She added: “Working on a small site with various surrounding constraints has been challenging and we have worked hard to maximise use of the space whilst visually enhancing the area.

“Having worked closely with the Foundation for some time, we have formed a great relationship which we look forward to continuing throughout the next phase of the development.”

Most recently, the Foundation’s capital project has been boosted towards the fundraising target following substantial donations from Sir James Knott Trust and Catherine Cookson Charitable Trust.

For more information on how you can support the project as a Foundation partner and help build a legacy for generations to come, visit our dedicated project page or email

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