A LUXURY leisure development scheme, costing £30Million, which has been ten years in the making has finally been given the green light by Newcastle City Council.

Councillors voted unanimously in favour of the plan, saying it was a “fantastic and well thought out” project which would be a huge asset to the city.

The granting of permissions to The Malhotra Group PLC to create the flagship complex will not only see the creation of one of the city centre’s most ambitious developments but will also create around 500 jobs when complete.

Now that the scheme -which had also won the backing of Historic England and Newcastle Conservation Area Panel – can go ahead, it means that some of the area’s most historic buildings will now be preserved for future generations.

The ambitious plan will see the refurbishment and alteration of a number of Grade II listed buildings, along with the creation of new extensions to existing buildings across a 100,000 sq feet development around Grey Street, Mosley Street and the Cloth Market.

When completed the site will be home to a luxury 120-bedroom hotel, retail outlets, a roof top bar with an outdoor swimming pool, a nightclub, restaurants, and a health club.

Interest has already been expressed from a 'number of international brands' about relocating to the development when it is complete.

Meenu Malhotra, Chair of the Malhotra Group PLC, said bringing the scheme to fruition was a long-held dream and would be the Malhotra family’s 'legacy to the city.'

He said: “It is ten years since we started to work on this development and it is fantastic for the Malhotra Group, the family and for the city as a whole that we can now finally get underway.”

“It means we can preserve some of the city centre’s most historically important buildings that otherwise might have been lost forever and breathe new life back into them.

“This is part of our on-going commitment to continue to invest in the North East and we believe this will be of national and international importance and will become an integral part of attracting people to Newcastle.

“We are very proud to be able to create something which will be a legacy for the city.”

The project had attracted objections from rival developers the Ladhar Group and from the Stonegate Pub Company, which claimed that noise complaints from hotel guests could force nightclub Flares to slash its opening hours or close entirely.

At Friday’s committee hearing, Byker councillor Stephen Sheraton raised concerns about the rooftop pool turning into a 'party land' if it was open to nightclubs – but council officers confirmed that it could only be accessed via the hotel’s health club.

Councillor Paula Holland called the development 'extremely well thought out' and 'very sympathetic to what we want in Newcastle', adding that it had been sad to see these historic buildings left to deteriorate into a poor state due to a 'lack of care.'

Former lord mayor David Cook added that the Cloth Market in particular had become an 'absolute mess', saying: “To see it being brought back into use in this way is to be supported.”

Councillor Ged Bell, the council’s cabinet member for neighbourhoods and transport, said: “This £30m investment by the Malhotra Group is yet another sign of developer confidence in Newcastle.

“It’s an imaginative scheme that will bring back into use empty buildings on Grey Street and the Cloth Market, transforming them into a luxury hotel.

“Balmbra’s music hall which was badly damaged by fire will also be restored. It will give the city a 103-bed hotel, about 500 jobs and new views of Grey Street – one of the most beautiful streets in England. It’s very exciting and I can’t wait to see it completed.”

Atul Malhotra, Operations Director and Bunty Malhotra, who heads up the Group’s care division, also expressed their delight that the scheme is now moving forward.

Mr Malhotra said: “What started out nearly ten years ago from buying a building on Grey Street grew to us having in our ownership a huge and important part of the city across Grey Street, Mosley Street and the Cloth Market,” they said.

“We are delighted this project, after years of discussions, has finally been given the green light.

“It’s humbling that this has now become a reality and we are well aware of the huge responsibility as owners and custodians for future generations of bringing this part of the city back to its former glory and making this beautiful street even more magnificent.

“We are extremely excited to get started and to deliver a world class facility that the city deserves.”

David Coundon, Director at Space Architects, which is delivering the project said it was an important development for the city.

Mr Coundon said: “It is thoroughly rewarding to be given the opportunity to restore these historic buildings back to their original beauty whilst also remodelling them in order to create a sustainable leisure destination fit for the 21st century.

“This development will reinvigorate a whole section of the city and create a place that can nurture, entertain and inspire people; a place that can champion cultural life and city's ambitions for regeneration and growth.”

The development is one of a number of schemes currently being undertaken in the city centre by the Malhotra Group in Newcastle which includes an additional £10m investment in developing 1 Mosley Street and the redevelopment of the Market Lane.