THE firm behind the Hadrian’s Tower project in Newcastle has taken full control of £120 million plans to transform land around St James’ Park.

The High Street Group is now the sole developer working on the regeneration of Strawberry Place with apartments, offices and a hotel.

Bosses at the Tyneside-based firm, which is also leading the creation of the city’s tallest building near the stadium, expect to appoint a contractor for the Strawberry Place scheme and begin construction soon.

It was confirmed in April that the development would go ahead as planned despite any uncertainty caused by the coronavirus crisis and the impending takeover of Newcastle United by a Saudi-backed consortium.

The plans were approved by Newcastle City Council last year despite objection from more than 1,700 people, including Newcastle Central MP Chi Onwurah, Newcastle United Supporters Trust and Newcastle fans who fear it will block views of St James’ Park and prevent any ground expansion.

Mike Ashley had sold the Strawberry Place land for £9 million to Helios Real Estate and Marrico, before High Street Group bought a controlling interest in the scheme earlier this year.

After buying out the other developers, High Street Group chairman Gary Forrest said: “This is an important milestone in the regeneration of Newcastle, which will encourage more investment, job creation and, ultimately, create a new, vibrant community at the very heart of the city.

“With the completion of the land and shareholding acquisitions we are in a position to embark on the development of Strawberry Place and further progress our discussions with potential occupiers who are keen to be part of our growing and welcoming city. 

“We have an active portfolio of projects across the country, but as a local company we are immensely proud to be creating communities in Newcastle.  Strawberry Place and Hadrian’s Tower are landmark developments for the city, allowing us to play a significant role in Newcastle’s future prosperity.”

The approved plans includes two apartment buildings of 21 and ten storeys, a 12-storey office block and a 200-bed hotel.

Among the bars and restaurants also planned for the site is a Geordie-themed venue for football fans to visit on matchdays.