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Business & Economy

Gateshead’s Sage arena gets £20 million boost in £100 million-plus regionwide ‘levelling up’ package

Plans to create a sprawling riverside business and leisure campus have received a £20 million boost.

Gateshead Council’s blueprint for The Sage arena, conference and exhibition centre has been backed by Westminster’s ‘levelling up’ fund.

Set for land on Gateshead Quays, officials say the “visionary project” will welcome more than one million visitors a year and create thousands of jobs.

The project was backed as part of a wider £100 million-plus Government package for the North East under its flagship regional equalising strategy, with schemes in Redcar and Cleveland, Hartlepool and Northumberland also receiving support.

Hailing the impact of Downing Street’s financial help to The Sage scheme [pictured, above], Councillor Martin Gannon, leader of Gateshead Council, said: “It’s great the Government has recognised the benefits of development, especially during the current economic climate.

“As a council, we are dedicated to ensuring The Sage is delivered, so we can provide employment opportunities to residents of Gateshead and beyond.

“The economic benefits of The Sage will radiate out as local businesses and hospitality benefit from the increase of trade.”

Councillor Gannon also confirmed changes have been made to the blueprint, with two hotels – planned for Gateshead’s Baltic Quarter – switched to another site as part of “cost efficiencies”.

He added land occupied by the hotels in original designs has been reclassified as an urban park.

Elsewhere, Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council has been awarded £19.9 million of ‘levelling up’ cash to make significant improvements to market town Guisborough and highway changes at Coulby Newham, which bosses say will pave the way for 800 homes.

Staying in the south of the region, Tees Valley Combined Authority has received nearly £18 million to create new cycling and walking routes, with Hartlepool Borough Council receiving £16.5 million to create a so-called production village, which officials say will boost opportunities in the creative sector.

Support also came for the North East Combined Authority’s work on decarbonisation, with the body awarded £19.5 million to fund a fleet of more than 50 electric buses and the installation of nearly 100 vehicle chargers.

And ministers have handed Northumberland County Council £14.7 million to build cycling and pedestrian lanes between Hexham and Bedlington.