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Plea to save ‘one of Newcastle’s finest buildings’ from being ‘effectively demolished’ UK News

A historic building in Newcastle that once symbolized “the dawn of a new age” for the city could be largely demolished to make way for a massive office development, a heritage group has warned.

The Northumberland and Newcastle Society fear much of Carliol House will be lost forever as part of plans to create thousands of HM Revenue & Customs jobs in the city centre. The 1920s Art Deco building on Market Street, which was originally the headquarters of the North Eastern Electricity Supply Company, is part of the proposed Pilgrim’s Quarter office complex.

9,000 government workers are to move from Longbenton and Washington to the new nine-story downtown block, which is being presented by the Reuben brothers and will wrap around Pilgrim Street, Market Street, New Bridge Street West and John Dobson Street. But, before Newcastle City Council delivers its verdict next week on whether or not to go ahead with the massive project, there are fears that Carliol House could be “effectively demolished” as a result.

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The Grade II listed site, built by architects from the British Museum, will see its exterior facade and prominent dome retained as part of the huge redevelopment, but its interior will be demolished to make way for HMRC offices. Tim Wickens, chairman of the Northumberland and Newcastle Society’s Tyneside Committee, said: ‘The justification for this is apparently due to the fact that the floor levels do not correspond to the new building elements of the project.

“It’s not good enough. Post-WWI Britain’s finest architects – including Sir John James Burnet – designed Carliol House to be a monument to a brave new world and a symbol of a city determined to be the vanguard of this world. Surely it must be possible to incorporate Carliol House into the proposed scheme, which on the whole we welcome as it will bring a neglected part of the town center back to life.

What Carliol House would look like in the Pilgrims Quarter development
What Carliol House would look like in the Pilgrims Quarter development

Carliol House was built between 1924 and 1927 and has been called ‘one of the finest buildings in the city’, with the heritage organization saying it has come to ‘symbolize the dawn of a new era’ of electric light and a revival of Newcastle’s fortunes as a nation. recovered from World War I.

The planning application for the Pilgrim’s Quarter development acknowledges that it ‘will harm the significance of Carliol House due to the loss of the historic fabric of the building’, but states that the facade will be ‘retained, restored and sensitively incorporated’ and that the benefits of the office complex will outweigh the negative impact on the prominent site.

A spokesman for commercial estate agents, Avison Young, added: ‘Avison Young and the design team have worked closely with the City Council and Historic England over the past 18 months to push forward the application for planning – including the proposal to retain the entire façade of Maison Carliol. We look forward to continuing this process as the program progresses.

If approved by the City Council’s planning committee next week, Pilgrim’s Quarter is expected to open in 2027. The former Dex Garage car park has been demolished to make way for the complex, while the Stack site on the site of the old Odeon cinema will also close in May to allow for construction work.

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