Newcastle United has today announced that the planning application process for a new fan zone at Strawberry Place is underway.
A preliminary planning application has been submitted to Newcastle City Council, proposing a fan zone to be built in two stages that will span the ground floor and first floor. The fan zone will be created in collaboration with STACK and the club’s new front-of-shirt partner, Sela.
The fan zone will offer a food, drink, and entertainment hub for supporters attending matches at St. James' Park and also act as a midweek leisure and social venue, a characteristic now associated with the STACK brand.
Constructed using repurposed shipping containers around a central plaza and main stage area, the new site aims to draw individuals of all ages, featuring specially curated events and attractions for families. The central stage, outfitted with a large screen, will provide a captivating experience for live entertainment and broadcasting sporting events, accompanied by six bars and ten street food outlets.
The club will maintain an ongoing collaboration with STACK during the planning process, with Sela - the club's front-of-shirt partner and a world-renowned events and experiences company - offering expert advice throughout. Contingent on planning and licensing approvals, it is hoped the fan zone will be operational before the year's end, with an initial lifespan of three years while the club investigates potential uses for the site.
The fan zone is set to enhance recent development projects around the Strawberry Place site, located close to the Gallowgate End. The club recently acquired the land, previously a car park, which has been used most recently for storing materials for nearby construction projects.
The fan zone is expected to generate numerous economic and employment opportunities for the city centre, attracting local businesses as both vendors and suppliers and increasing foot traffic for neighbouring businesses and services.
The site will also create 150 full-time and part-time jobs, with Newcastle United Foundation's employability programme - NU Futures - establishing connections with the fan zone to provide local people with new opportunities. NU Futures is an alliance between Newcastle United Foundation, North of Tyne Combined Authority, prominent local businesses, schools, and other top-tier education and training partners.
The programme supports young individuals to build the skills and characteristics needed for success in the workplace, and the fan zone will serve as a key pathway for youth employment. A community consultation process will commence shortly, allowing supporters and the general public to review the plans in depth.
Newcastle CEO Darren Eales commented, "Our fan zone is aimed at enhancing the experience not just for supporters visiting matches and big events at the stadium, but for people visiting the city centre seven days a week.
"Submitting initial plans is just the first stage and there are a lot of steps in the process, but we are excited to continue working with our commercial and city partners to create something that will really add social and economic value to the location."
Neill Winch, CEO of STACK, added, "The joint venture with Newcastle United to create a fan zone in the city centre is exciting for many reasons, not least of which is the coming together of two great North East brands.
"We believe this development is going to be a huge asset, not just to the club and its amazing fans, but to the city as a whole.
"While STACK is now growing to become a national chain, the fact that our very first venture was in Newcastle means it has a special place in our affections.
"We are delighted to be working with the club and Sela to provide a 'best in class' experience for fans and the community, not only on match days but every day of the week."