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£50m benefit for region if World Cup bid is successful

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FA delegates in the north-east to assess bid facilities

The region’s economy could attract as much as £50m investment if its major cities are chosen as hosts for the 2018 World Cup, it was claimed yesterday.

Andrew Dixon, chief executive of the Newcastle-Gateshead Initiative, said: “We estimate that only so many people will be able to get into the stadiums but thousands more will travel over for the atmosphere.

“There will be lasting benefits for the region.

“For Newcastle, Gateshead and Sunderland to host the World Cup would be fantastic.”

The delegates will today visit St James’ Park, the Baltic, The Sage Gateshead and Tyneside hotels, and also study the region’s transport infrastructure to see if it could withstand a massive influx of visitors.

South Shields may now struggle to make it’s voice heard seeing as the Independent Alliance led protests have closed out the possibility of a four star hotel development on our sea front, along with the Save Our Seafront campaign team they have contributed to the dropping of a plan by South Tyneside Borough Council to allow Tavistock to develop a luxury four star hotel at the Gypsies Green site in South Shields. Although Tavistock may have had difficulty in raising sufficient finance to go ahead with the proposal there was nothing to suggest that other developers may not have been interested in taking up the idea, particularly if the World Cup comes to the region.

Can you imagine if Sunderland’s bid to host World Cup 2018 games, or Newcastle/Gateshead’s bid are successful just how much we may have benefited? Can you imagine, if we had had the necessary facilities to house one of the participating teams, perhaps Brazil, Argentina, or Spain, in South Shields, and be able to see them working out on the beach or perhaps training on The Leas, how much the event would bring in terms of revenue for local businesses and our local economy in general? Can you imagine a huge influx of foreign visitors with cash to spend? Can you imagine a giant screen in the Market Place with a party atmosphere on game days with maybe Dutch or Portugese or Australian fans enjoying our legendary hospitality? It hardly needs thinking about.

However, all may not be lost, the newly re-elected councillor for the Westoe ward may just be able to come to the rescue, back in 2003 Allen Branley and his partner Alan Mordain through their development vehicle Branmore Investments bought up a huge slice of South Shields riverside at a time when most property investors were pooing on the idea of making a profit out of the remnants of  British Shipbuilders’ land when the company went into administration. Branmore took the leap and snapped it up at auction for what was rumoured to be a little more than £2m, but less than £3m, this was a wise entrepreneurial move at a time when others were reticent to redevelop and rejuvenate the riverside landscape, nine years ago the developed end value was estimated to be worth around £200m.

Branmore have ambitious plans for the area, which this blogger hopes to see come to fruition, an outline planning application was made to South Tyneside Council in 2003 which included luxury homes, offices, shops, restaurant and leisure facilities plus a hotel. A hotel? Yes, a hotel, which is exactly what we need, and even more so if a World Cup bid finds favour with the FA this week.

The scheme will be handled in four phases. In the first phase, luxury serviced flats similar to those in London Docklands will be developed on a river frontage alongside newly built retail and leisure facilities geared towards busy professional people. A restored dock will be a central feature, and there is also talk of floating restaurants.

Phase two makes provision for more homes, retail and possibly offices, while phase three will involve the construction of an eye-catching residential tower with shops on low-rise wings.

The final phase will accommodate a hotel complex with conference facilities, a marina and shops. Mordain says they are pitching the hotel at the four-star market and that two hotel operators have already shown an interest. They also hope the Magistrates Court next door will attract local accountants and solicitors firms to the office space.

It is this final phase which is of most interest, and one hopes that when Mr. Branley returns to South Shields that he will turn his mind to pressing forward with his ideas along with his partner Mr. Mordain, 2018 is not that far away and if the north east is to reap the financial benefits and put itself on the map then South Shields really does not want to miss out. As far as I am aware no firm plans have been submitted by Branmore Investments yet to go ahead with the four star hotel development, but one lives in hope that progress towards it is being made.

One also lives in hope that his party colleagues on South Tyneside Council will not behave like Luddites again, and give the development the support it deserves, we don’t need to be blind to the possibilities and benefits that these types of facilities could bring to the town. The economic spin offs reach deep into the local community, there are construction jobs to be had, secure employment in the future at the riverside, long term contracts for local suppliers, and the prospect of additional visitors and tourists would bode well for other owners of accommodation in the town and also boost our retail sector.

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Written by curly

September 11, 2009 at 9:32 am

2 Responses

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  1. Curly you don’t think that we are naive enough to believe that the Indies would possibly oppose a Branley plan do you?

    Accidental Tourist

    September 11, 2009 at 12:40 pm

  2. Brazilian magic on the beach in Shields, we can only dream ?

    cherry bear

    September 12, 2009 at 10:24 pm

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