TWO North-East projects have been shortlisted for a national accolade.

The Sage Gateshead and the South Stockton Link have both been shortlisted for the Prime Minister's Better Public Building Award.

Now in its fifth year, the architecture award recognises excellence in design quality of publicly-funded building schemes. This year, 15 schemes are nominated for the award from 140 entries.

The Sage is the latest project in the revitalisation of Gateshead Quays. The 17,500 sq metre building houses a 1,650-seat concert hall, 400-seat performance space and rehearsal hall.

Lord Foster of Thames Bank, chairman of Sage designers Foster and Partners, said: "I have always believed that the arts are an essential part of the life of a city.

"When we designed the Sage Gateshead, it was foremost in our minds that the project should not only contribute to the urban regeneration of Gateshead, and symbolise the cultural emergence of Tyneside, but also provide an 'urban living room' in which the local community can enjoy a wide range of music."

The South Stockton link is a road connecting Ingleby Barwick - Europe's largest private housing development - and Stockton town centre, on Teesside, to the national trunk road network.

The judges said the project showed how a construction company could work with the community and achieve value for money.