Walker Riverside, Newcastle

Project description

Aims and objectives

The AAP sets out the following objectives for the area

  • increase the population of Walker Riverside, and especially the number of families
  • achieve a wider mix of housing and forms of tenure that better meet needs and aspirations
  • create a strong new community focus: an accessible, attractive neighbourhood centre providing good quality local shops, services and facilities in a good, safe environment
  • invest effectively  in housing, the environment and local services to create the right  conditions for a strong, long term, sustainable local economy and housing market
  • restructure the provision and delivery of local services in a way that supports the engagement of the community in the management and delivery of services

Project start and end dates

The HMR project had a fifteen year timescale, which started in earnest following the adoption of the AAP in 2007, although much planning and community engagement took place prior to this starting in 2004. Developments are on-going.

Services offered

Walker Riverside plans to build 1,600 new and replacement homes the next fifteen years and create a new neighbourhood centre in the heart of the area. In addition the following retail and community facilities and services are included in the plans:

  • New retail area which will include a supermarket with a floorspace of 2499m2 (net). Site to be marketed in early 2011
  • a Community Hub which will include:
    • new primary school will open in September 2012. Planning permission submitted Jan 2011 (jointly submitted with Lightfoot Centre)
  • multi use building (based around GP/pharmacy anchor tenant) which will bring together local services under one roof
  • community led arts project at Church Walk Shopping Centre (to east of Heart of Walker) looks to transform shell of derelict building not due for clearance for several years.

Success factors

The project is in year 4 of delivery phase. The achievements so far:

  • AAP and Heart of Walker SPD in place.
  • Planning permission for 4 new build developments.
  • 150 new homes built in Walker Riverside.
  • New homes built to Lifetime Homes and CSH standards.
  • 450 void properties have been cleared.
  • Work with organisations such as Living Streets, Northern Architecture, CABE.
  • Strategic Development Partner and Legal Agreement in place.
  • Engagement with local people and organisations.
  • Housing improvement schemes (including private properties)
  • Community Hub development to ensure service provision does not overlap and is appropriate to peoples needs.
  • Internal project teams specific to project need, no bloated structures.

Risk factors

  • Heavy contamination on new build sites relating to past history of area as base for heavy industry.
  • 56% of adults in Walker have no qualifications
  • Changing perception of area through new housing and marketing
  • Clearance programme meant lots of opposition to plans
  • About to begin process of marketing retail site to potential businesses, capital receipt key to fund future community developments
  • As with many programmes of this type, their projects are reliant on funding. A major source of funding over the last five years has been Bridging Newcastle Gateshead. A recent announcement made it clear that HMRs would not continue past March 2011 and funding for projects would need to be sourced elsewhere (Growth Point, Local Investment Plans, HCA). As such, start/end dates have to be flexible until such a time funding is confirmed. At the moment, this mostly affects 2011/12 new build dates.

Business/operational model

Newcastle City Council is lead for Walker Riverside, with Strategic Delivery Partner appointed (Places for People) for housing related regeneration.

The Walker Riverside team consists of five core officers. Multi disciplinary teams are put in place as required for projects where core officers can call on specialists from other parts of the council as required.

Walker Riverside Steering Group brings together people from the community and organisations with an interest in the future of the area, to discuss plans and influence decision makers. This group meets every quarter.

Financing and delivery/procurement


  • Currently looking at Regional Growth Fund as source of funding


  • Private funding brought in from new build developers (Places for People and Bellway).

Some projects (e.g. Belmont Green Pocket Park) have element of funding earmarked for maintenance over a period of time where necessary.

Measurement and monitoring

  • Value for Money study undertaken
  • Audit Commission inspection Jan 2009
  • Internal scrutiny
  • Business plan
  • Regeneration Investment and Action Plan

Future developments

Site assembly programme in Walker Riverside is at an advanced stage. Development across Walker Riverside continues with new build taking place. Funding for the next 5 years is currently being finalised. Community led and funded arts project in Church Walk area. Council officers working with and supporting community to deliver regeneration related project.

Publications and information links

Walker Riverside Area Action Plan, Adopted April 2007

Heart of Walker Supplementary Planning Document, Adopted February 2009

Walker Riverside Design Code Supplementary Planning Document, Adopted May 2007

Walker Eye editions from earlier years can be found here.


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Contact details

Julie Bullen Senior Area Project Manager
Tim Jones Area Project Manager

Environment and Regeneration Directorate

Newcastle City Council
Ouseburn Regeneration Centre
Spillers Quay
Newcastle upon Tyne                             
NE6 1BU                                                                                         


Tel: 0191 2755608
Email: [email protected]