North East Devolution and Levelling Up

Newcastle Gateshead Quays – A Welcome Step In The Right Direction

It’s great to see the report in The Journal today that work has started on the long-awaited £260m arena complex on Gateshead riverside, including a conference centre, hotel and outdoor performance square. The development between the Sage music centre and the Baltic art gallery should certainly help put Tyneside on the map as an entertainment and cultural venue. 

Equally encouraging is that the site, previously known as Gateshead Quays, has been rebranded as Newcastle Gateshead Quays, the better to market it to a global audience. 

This is a relatively small step towards the cross-boundary co-operation that the North East needs if it is to take maximum advantage of the opportunities of collaboration, given that the NewcastleGateshead Initiative has been the area’s marketing agency for more than 20 years now. 

Much more co-operation is needed, starting with healing the rift that split the North East Combined Authority in 2016 between three councils north of the Tyne, with a devolution deal, and four south of the river without a deal. Still, any step in the right direction, however small, is welcome.