Plans for a £13m design facility, Design Centre North, have been submitted to Gateshead Borough Council.
One North East, the regional development agency for North East England, says it expects the centre to drive growth in design, innovation and product development for a regional design economy it estimates to be worth £600m. The centre would also house the Design Knowledge Transfer Network.
One North East has provided £4.4m for the project. The European Regional Development Fund is to put forward £3.6m, and £5m will be provided by developer Terrace Hill. The building is being designed by Red Box Design.
Design senior specialist at One North East, Ben Strutt says, ‘The Design Transfer Network will be there to facilitate the support of design innovation and research.
‘It will also be a space for design-led businesses – maybe graphic designers, design consultancies and architects. Its purpose is to be a central hub for the creative industries,’ he adds.
Strutt says that the proposed centre is a reaction to the Cox Review of Creativity in Business, 2005, which in part, highlighted the importance of creativity, design and innovation to business performance in the UK.
‘The UK needs to be more competitive and we need to compete at a higher level of skill provision,’ he says.
A spokeperson for Gateshead Borough Council says, ‘As [the Design Centre North] is a major project, [the planning proposal] will have to go to committee and the earliest a decision will be made is late February, early March.’