Planning for historic building at Ochre Yards

13.04.17

A historic Grade II listed building in Gateshead has been granted planning permission for conversion into 58 new dwellings.

Part of the Ochre Yards development for Bellway homes (NE), ‘Block 2’ was formerly the Boiler Shop for Greenesfield Railway Works. Construction of Blocks 1 and 3 at Ochre Yards began in 2003, with works continuing steadily since then; the final new build, Block 10 is currently on site, due for completion later this year, leaving the conversion of Block 2 as the final work needed to complete the development. Overall the site comprises 11 apartment blocks providing 694 contemporary apartment living spaces. 

The design challenge for the Boiler Shop, an expansive Victorian industrial building of significant historic and visual importance, was to adapt large spaces and elements such as windows to the smaller-scale requirements of individual dwellings. The conversion of the building was important in securing its future as a heritage asset within the Tyne Bridges conservation area and the design team worked painstakingly to achieve a viable and sensitive solution, working closely with planning and heritage consultants as well as the wider community.  

Commenting on the planning news, P+HS Architects’ Director of Housing Chris Dennis said: “We are delighted to have secured planning for this important building on the Ochre Yards site.  We have worked closely with Bellway (North East) in developing Ochre Yards for over ten years, creating almost 700 new apartments and bringing new life to the former Railway works site that is an important part of the region’s industrial heritage.”  

The conversion will see the sensitive restoration of the Boiler Shop, showcasing its original features and enhancing the design with new contemporary elements such as Corten rainscreen cladding to external entrance canopies. The main boiler shop building has 42 apartments and duplex units; a further 16 units (58 apartments in total) are housed in a new annex building which contrasts and complements the adjacent restored building.  

Apartments are located on both sides of the building. At the lower ground floor level, huge brick vaulted arches and arched windows are retained, providing apartments with commanding views out over the River Tyne and Newcastle City beyond. The North elevation which dominates the Gateshead river frontage will be restored with little intervention, at roof level, apartments will be formed with large river frontage terraces. Significant stone repair work will be carried out and new window openings created for apartments to the south.  The extensive depth of the existing building means that a substantial space is left between the north and south apartments forming a top lit atrium court to retain a sense of the scale of the original interior.

The new annex building will be built within the old walls of an adjacent old building which sits alongside the main former boiler house building and comprises a 5-storey apartment building to be clad in Corten reflecting the industrial character of existing buildings.  

It is hoped that work will commence shortly with units available for Spring 2019.