The Newcastle United ticket office at St James’ Park, St James’ Boulevard, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 4ST will undergo a £300,000 transformation as developers turn it into a terrace bar. Sodexo Prestige, which operates the catering and events at Newcastle United, is turning the ticket office at the south west corner of the ground into the 700-capacity bar. It is due to open in time for the home Barclays Premier League clash with Fulham on Sunday 7th April 2013.
As well as creating thirty new jobs at the football club – bringing the number of catering and events staff at NUFC up to 700 – the development will also give supporters an extra option on match days while providing a new space for parties and other informal social occasions, complementing existing event facilities.
Derek Llambias, Newcastle United’s managing director, said: “The terrace is a stylish new development at St. James’ Park and one that we are particularly excited about. We wanted to create a lively venue for supporters to meet on match days before and after our games. It adds an important new dimension to the stadium and will improve the facilities that we already have in and around St. James’.”
An article in the Shields Gazette today…
South Tyneside College is scrapping A-levels. The “gold standard” qualifications will no longer be offered from September, with the college instead focusing on vocational provision. About 90 students and 17 lecturers are affected by the changes. School-leavers who want to take A-level courses will now have to fight for a place at one of the borough’s two sixth forms or travel to Sunderland, Newcastle, Gateshead or North Tyneside.
A South Tyneside College spokesman said: “We have decided to reshape, strengthen and expand our curriculum to focus on vocational education that meets the needs of employers and universities. We strongly believe this will provide our students with an excellent and ‘best possible’ career route into higher education and employment. This means we are replacing our A-level provision with more vocational-led courses.”
Students who have applied to take AS-levels at the college, in St George’s Avenue, South Shields, in September will be offered vocational alternatives. Those who are due to progress to A2 – the second year of their A-levels – will be able to complete their studies at the college.
Business lecturer John Heywood, branch secretary of the Universities and Colleges Union (UCU), said the A-level team was informed of the move at a meeting on Thursday. Staff have been told they will be redeployed. He said: “I think it is tragic that we lose our gold standard provision. These are the courses that will get students into university. I think it is an absolute tragedy for the borough, the college, students and staff.”
The number of students taking A-levels at the college has dwindled from almost 300 in 2009 to just 48 now, with a further 36 doing other courses, plus an A-level to enhance their main course. The college’s A-level pass rate last year was 99.1 per cent. It said “every possible support” is being given to current and prospective students, and that it is liasing with other A-level providers to give them a full range of alternative options.
Harton Technology College in Lisle Road, South Shields, NE34 6DL and St Joseph’s RC Comprehensive School in Mill Road, Hebburn, NE31 2ET are the only other sixth form providers in the borough. Whitburn C of E Academy in Nicholas Avenue, Whitburn, Sunderland, SR6 7EX has been granted permission to open a sixth form from September 2014, but plans are in the very early stages.
Three secondary schools – Boldon School in New Road, Boldon Colliery, NE35 9DZ; South Shields Community School (formerly Brinkburn Comprehensive School) in Nevinson Avenue, Whiteleas, NE34 8BT and St Wilfrid’s RC College in Temple Park Road, South Shields, NE34 0PH – offer some post-16 provision.
Sunderland Association Football Club aka SAFC subsidiary 1879 Events Management have today announced that they have won the contract to run the restaurant at The National Glass Centre on Liberty Way, Sunderland, SR6 0GL when it re-opens in the summer. Formerly the Throwing Stones restaurant, the new eatery will be part of a £2.25million investment programme in the Glass Centre which includes remodelled galleries and improved educational facilities at the centre.
The National Glass Centre was taken over by the University of Sunderland in 2010 with it’s redevelopment supported by Arts Council England through it’s award of a £750,000 improvement grant. The Heritage Lottery Fund also backed the redevelopment of the centre, providing £250,000 towards improvements. Director of the National Glass Centre James Bustard commented “Everyone involved in the redevelopment of the centre is thoroughly enthused about the reopening in the summer, and about its future success. We are extremely confident that the new-look centre will further enhance the region’s cultural offer while helping to reinforce ourselves as the leading centre for glass in the UK.”
It is hoped that “a first-class food offering will help strengthen visitor numbers, which can only benefit the city as a whole.” – Gary Hutchinson, commercial director at SAFC. “1879 Events Management is delighted to be providing such an important service to National Glass Centre at such an exciting time in its development. We’re proud to be in partnership with both National Glass Centre and the university on this venture.” The opening of the restaurant, to be named National Glass Centre Brasserie, is scheduled for summer 2013. It hopes to attract lovers of high-quality food and to be added to the list of premium restaurants in the region. Both daytime and evening menus are to be heavily influenced by local and regional fayre. A first class food offering is also expected to help strengthen visitor numbers which can only benefit the city of Sunderland as a whole.
Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway “Super Computer” visited Eldon Square Shopping Centre today and drew a big crowd. A couple of pictures are below…
Fresh plans to extend Sunderland Metro link into Washington. Plans to extend the Metro to Washington could finally be on track after councillors unveiled an ambitious blueprint for the region’s development. City leaders have put together a wish list of developments they will aim to make reality in their vision of how Wearside will look in 2032, from the new bridge over the Wear to regeneration of the Vaux site. It includes a call by Sunderland City Council to extend the Tyne and Wear Metro network further into the region, connecting the city centre with Washington, along with incorporating the disused South Hylton to Penshaw railway line. As well as this, the action plan highlights the need for a new station as part of a major redevelopment of the former Grove Cranes factory and another in Millfield to service sites such as Lisburn Terrace and Deptford Terrace.
Washington MP Sharon Hodgson, who presented ministers with a petition calling for the Metro to come to her constituency signed by hundreds of residents, told the Echo the move would be a significant boost to the area’s economy. She said: “I’m very pleased to see that Sunderland Council want to improve transport links for Washington residents, and recognise that extending the Metro would make a major contribution to the local economy. Getting a station for Washington is still a long way down the line, but this declaration is a major step in getting all the relevant bodies on board to make it a reality.”
Metro bosses have suggested they are open to the possibility of adding to the network. Director general of Metro operator Nexus, Bernard Garner, said: “We have started work with Sunderland City Council to assess how the Metro system can best be extended and developed to meet the potential future demands generated by these ambitious plans for the city’s future.” Mel Speding, the council’s cabinet, added: “The strategy recognises how the Metro is a significant public transport asset for all of us. Its long-term outlook sets down how the council will work with Network Rail, Nexus and others to secure improvements to public transport and its infrastructure across the city.”
A desire to see the former Vaux brewery site redeveloped as a “new and attractive place to work and live” is also spelled out in the plans, as part of the ultimate aim of creating a “vital and viable centre”. Another major development outlined in the Core Strategy and Development Management strategy is the new Wear bridge, which will be the focal point of the so-called Sunderland Strategic Transport Corridor.
It is hoped the new route will provide a link between the A19 and the Port of Sunderland. Councillor Speding said: “The Core Strategy sits at the heart of the city’s Local Development Framework which replaces the Unitary Development Plan. It will be one of the key delivery tools of both the Sunderland Strategy and the Economic Masterplan. The draft strategy has been examined by the Cabinet and a six week public consultation period is due to begin next month. Over this six week consultation period we want to work with people to see how these needs can best be met. Residents and businesses will have the opportunity to share their views and concerns on the proposal before the final, revised strategy is presented to an independent planning inspector for final consideration.” Consultation on the report will open up to residents and businesses in May.