But while the plans have been given the go-ahead, bosses behind the scheme have been urged to address concerns raised over lighting at the site.
“I think this is an exciting development, it has lots of green issues and it’s sustainable development,” said Cllr Gladys Hobson.
“The only thing that concerns me is that there are mixed messages about the external lighting, comments from [residents] about light pollution from the outside lights and then comments from the police about the lack of lighting causing shadowed areas.
“I’m quite happy to [approve the application], but I think we need to look carefully at the outside lighting to make sure the police are happy and there aren’t any ‘muggers’ alleys’ or dark areas where people can lurk and that the residents are happy the light is not intrusive upon their properties.”
Cllr Hobson was speaking at a meeting of the borough council’s Planning Committee, which was held by videolink and broadcast via YouTube.
Comments submitted by Northumbria Police’s ‘Designing Out Crime’ team were largely supportive of the proposals, claiming the development would ‘provide natural surveillance’ of the area and ‘re-purpose a vacant space’.
But it also called for an ‘external lighting strategy’ to be approved for the building, suggesting current plans could be ‘inadequate from a crime and safety perspective’.
The force added: “The relationship between the ‘garden space’ and the Mill Dam wall needs to be handled with care to avoid creating darker areas and uncomfortable spaces.
“In creating new public space overlooking the river, we have to consider how that space might be used and also misused.”
According to plans, between 413 – 516 workers could be based in the new office block, although just 22 parking spaces will be provided, as well as space for 50 bicycles.