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More money to redevelop Newcastle tower blocks
Feb 16 2010 by Amy Hunt, Evening Chronicle



More taxpayers' money has been put forward to shore up the renovation of an iconic estate.

Council bosses hope extra cash will secure the future of half the tower blocks at Riverside Dene, Newcastle, which used to be known as Cruddas Park.

But a question mark still hangs over five of the 10 high-rises which, in the 1960s, were part of T Dan Smith’s vision for a “city in the sky” featured in the TV series Our Friends In The North.

The £90m scheme to refurbish all the tower blocks and bring them up to modern standards was thrown into jeopardy when private firms Bellway and Gentoo pulled out.

The original idea had been for Newcastle City Council, along with Your Homes Newcastle (YHN), to kick-off the scheme to give all 10 blocks a facelift by renovating three for rent through YHN.

A deal with the private firms to do up five of the blocks for sale would then provide extra cash to take forward the refurbishment of the remaining two blocks for rent.

But due to the recession, the private firms did not want to commit to the project, and they backed off, leaving the estate in limbo.

In December, we reported how there was a £4.6m funding gap in relation to the fourth and fifth blocks.

As work on the first three blocks nears completion, the city council’s ruling executive has approved a “financial package” which will allow two more of the high-rises to be developed for rent and sale by YHN and Bridging NewcastleGateshead.

The future of the other five blocks is still being considered by regeneration chiefs, with demolition of one or more one of the options on the table.

But council bosses are keen to keep the project moving to allow people to move back into the vacated blocks.

Phil Joyce, director of area based regeneration at the city council, said: “There’s no mistaking the changes at Riverside Dene and this is another big leap forward.

“The global recession and the recent drop in the housing market meant it was important to review our options going forward, but the partnership has reasserted its commitment to the area and shown resilience in the face of some fresh challenges.” John Lee, chief executive of YHN, said: “YHN are keen to get started as early as possible on the next two blocks and build on the scheme’s momentum, while continuing to develop proposals for later phases of the scheme.

“This will demonstrate our continued commitment to our tenants, and I’m sure this will be an exciting time for all concerned.”

Residents will be invited to view completed apartments in The Sycamores over the first weekend in May, before the first tenants begin to return from May 14.

Work has also started on a £1.7m biomass heating system to help provide heat and hot water to the refurbished blocks.

In April 2009, Cruddas Park was “re-branded” and renamed at a cost of £45,000.
 

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Discussion Starter · #82 ·
^i went past there a couple of days ago and there seems to be scaffolding going up on the tower block closest to scotswood road.
 

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I can`t honestly see the point of wasting £45,000 on rebranding Cruddas park as Riverside Dene, it will always be known as Cruddas Park.I`m sure the money could have been reallocted more wisely elsewhere.
 

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I go down to Elswick once a week to present a radio show on NE1 FM and I think the views from some of those flats must be absolutely incredible.
 

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It is interesting to see how the now very "isolated" Balmoral used to look when it was in a civilised place all surrounded by normal housing streets back in the 1960s. This excellent photo was posted by hollow man recently, on the "Historic" thread . .

You are right it is a very interesting photo - its before my time and it shows how much that are has changed (for the worse)
 

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Discussion Starter · #88 ·

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I agree. I really don't think that there's been many better types of higher density housing created than the terrace. The houses demolished may (or may not) have got into such a state that they needed to be demolished, but replacing them with new, better terraced housing would (with the obvious benefit of hindsight) have been a better choice. In my opinion, obviously.
 

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Two pics showing Elswick in the 1960s before the Waverley Mather estate was built (i.e. due west of the College site) - note widespread dereliction



 

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Not sure how many of you would judge the Summerhill area as West End, but I think it is utterly remarkable that most of this area escaped the bulldozers. Judging by this photo of Summerhill Street and seeing the state that it was in, its amazing how it managed to survive...

 
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