Mike Ashley's £9m land sale threatens Newcastle's iconic skyline

You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.

Newcastle United is a special city and St James’s Park is a special stadium. The late, great Sir Bobby Robson referred to it as the “cathedral on the hill”.

St James’s Park dominates the city’s skyline in a way no other stadium does in England, yet this view is under threat.

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A £120million high-rise redevelopment of Strawberry Place – United owner Mike Ashley controversially sold the land for £9million – could get the go-ahead from councillors this week despite objections from fans concerned that the scheme will limit the scope for expansion of the stadium and change Newcastle’s skyline forever.

The Newcastle United Supporters Trust urged council planners to reject the scheme.

However, the development was recommended for approval, despite planners admitting that the views of the stadium would be “compromised” by the proposed apartment blocks, offices, and hotel.

Council officers said: “It is recognised that the stadium at present dominates the skyline – and is clearly visible from many key vistas in and around the city. It is also recognised that these views would be partially compromised by the proposals.

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“However, care has been taken through the heights and sighting of buildings within the site to maintain glimpse views through the site to maintain both longer range and short-range glimpse views of the stadium, including views from the Tyne Bridge and from the approach up St James’ Boulevard and visuals have been submitted to demonstrate this.”

Iconic views of St James's Park are under threat.Iconic views of St James's Park are under threat.
Iconic views of St James's Park are under threat.

A “glimpse view” just isn’t the same. And if this iconic view goes, it’ll be gone forever.

The proposed Strawberry Place development.The proposed Strawberry Place development.
The proposed Strawberry Place development.