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PfP igloo's green light to restore iconic building

– 3 min read

A derelict building on Tyneside, once at the heart of the industrial revolution, is set for a new lease of life – and will play a part in creating many new jobs for the community.

The Pattern Shop, behind Newcastle Central Station, was once a base for industrial pioneer Robert Stephenson where he built steam locomotives in the 1800s for export across the globe. Founded in 1823, Robert Stephenson and Company was the first company in the world that was created specifically to build railway engines.

After Stephenson moved out of the Pattern Shop, the Grade II Listed building became a builder’s yard before eventually being abandoned in the ‘60s.

But now, PfP igloo and Newcastle City Council – which owns the building – have been given permission to transform the two-storey workshop into an eco-friendly commercial centre, housing small- and medium-sized businesses in the creative and digital sectors.

What's the plan?

It's hoped that up to 300 people will eventually be based in the low carbon, low energy building which will offer more than 3,000 square metres of flexible workspace with views across the River Tyne.

“The Pattern Shop is one of the city’s stunning hidden gems and a great example of how working with Newcastle City Council, we can deliver a range of real benefits – the restoration of such an important part of Newcastle’s heritage, measures to reduce carbon, and a unique space to attract businesses and create employment. Once occupied next year, it will really help to establish the historic heart of the site."

John Tatham, Director at PfP igloo

Financial support for the project

The £8.7m refurbishment will be funded by PfP igloo and Newcastle City Council, with extra support of a £0.8m Local Growth Fund grant from the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and a £1.4m grant from the Government’s Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme (PSDS).

The LEP grant will fund the repair of the structure and roof of the building, with the PSDS grant funding various energy saving measures that will reduce its carbon footprint.

Gateshead-based contractor Tolent was awarded the £1.1m contract to complete the first phase of restoration works to the building, and specialist teams are carrying out a series of works to bring it back into use. These include a deep clean, shot blasting steelwork, asbestos removal and repair works to the roof and replacement of the existing timber floors.

This will be followed by a complete the conversion of the building to modern offices, whilst retaining the buildings heritage features and unique history.

"It's an incredibly important building from a historical point of view being at the forefront of the industrial revolution. Robert Stephenson fitted out engines there – 3,000 were shipped all over the world as far afield as America and Egypt putting Newcastle on the international map. I am delighted that the building will be brought back into use, hopefully to house new businesses that will put Newcastle on the map again for new hi-tech inventions and digital applications."

Councillor Ged Bell, Cabinet Member for Development Neighbourhoods and Transport

“The continued redevelopment of the Stephenson Quarter is breathing new life into one of Newcastle’s most culturally significant areas. Part of the birthplace of the industrial revolution, the Stephenson Quarter will now be home to the next generation of innovation businesses, supporting further growth of the North East’s creative and digital sectors.”

Andrew Moffat CBE, Chair of the North East LEP Investment Board

“This is a really interesting project for us, and we are delighted to be involved in such a unique development. Working on any site with listed building status requires a team that are experienced and highly skilled to carry out what can be quite a delicate sequence of work, so it’s great to see our team delivering this quality service for the council.”

David Thompson, Divisional Managing Director for Tolent, said

The 4.3-acre brownfield plot is the first to be developed in Stephenson Works LLP and the project is set to be completed this coming summer.

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