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Plans go in to turn Bigg Market offices into flats

Xsite Architecture’s revamp of 2 Cathedral Square by Newcastle’s Bigg Market

Newcastle-based asset management firm Monument Real Estate is seeking detailed planning consent for the redevelopment of 2 Cathedral Square in the heart of Newcastle’s Bigg Market area.

The application seeks consent for exterior and interior works including the addition of an extra three floors to the current structure to accommodate the creation of 139 serviced apartments.

The office building at 2 Cathedral Square was constructed on the site of the former town hall in the mid-1970s. Fifty years on, the largely vacant block is now in need of a significant revamp to deliver a more energy efficient and fit-for-purpose building to meet the needs of modern city-centre living, the developer says.

Designed by Newcastle-based Xsite Architecture, the proposed scheme will see the existing structural frame being re-clad to improve insulation.

The submission is expected to be considered by Newcastle City Council in the first quarter of 2024. It approved, redevelopment work is expected to follow soon after, with the first apartments potentially available in 2025.

Monument Real Estate bought the building for £8m in 2021 and initially planned to turn it into 35 flats  under permitted development rights.

Tom Wooldridge, director and founder of Monument Real Estate, said: “Our latest plans for 2 Cathedral Square further support the significant investment that has been made to rejuvenate this historic part of Newcastle. There is a strong desire to invest in the building to raise it to a much higher standard of residential accommodation than the existing property would be able to offer.”

Helen Marks, director at planning consultancy DPP, said: “The planning consent secured in 2022 does not enable Monument to enhance the exterior of the property. The current building is outdated, and the fresh proposals will allow them to bring forward a fantastic redevelopment project, which is far more appropriate for this culturally rich and historic part of central Newcastle.”

Xsite Architecture’s head of practice, Tim Bailey, added: “A building as significant as 2 Cathedral Square, standing in such a central location, should ideally have more stature than it currently has. Our designs seek to elevate its prominence and deliver a high standard of city centre living to meet 21st century needs.”

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