NUST Statement: Strawberry Place Development Approval
Today (8th November 2019) representative of the Newcastle United Supporters Trust (NUST) attended a meeting of the Newcastle City Council planning committee as it considered an application for the development on land adjacent to St. James’ Park on Strawberry Place.
We maintained our objection as previously submitted, highlighting significant concerns over impacts on the future potential of Newcastle United, as well as impacts on our skyline with views of the iconic St. James’ Park to be lost forever.
In our submission to the Council we emphasised the international significance of St. James’ Park, and noted a comment by former Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger, who described St. James’ Park as a sporting citadel, dominating the skyline and the heartbeat of the city.
The planning committee decided to approve the development by 7 votes to 3. We will now consider our position going forward and will discuss our next steps at a board meeting this evening, our first meeting as a new board following a recent election process, and we will communicate our plans with our members following this meeting. We must reiterate that there is only one man to blame for this situation. Most football clubs are buying land around their stadium to safeguard its future, for commercial purposes or for stadium improvement works. Strawberry Place could have been used to develop a Newcastle United hotel, museum, commercial development, fan area or other commercial development for the benefit of Newcastle United while safeguarding St. James’ Park.
Instead the lease has been sold on, with one man making a multimillion pound profit. That money could, and should, at the very least, have been reinvested into Newcastle United Football Club.