Ukraine war delays Newcastle’s £100m leisure scheme

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been blamed for delaying the start of the £100 million Giants on the Quayside leisure scheme in Newcastle, according to its developer.

World Wheel Company chief executive Phil Lynagh said the war had pushed back the start of the high-profile project, which will create the tallest observation wheel in Europe.

Newcastle City Council granted consent for Giants on the Quayside back in 2019, and work was expected to begin in 2020 and then in 2021.

But Lynagh said: “The impact on global capital markets caused by the ongoing economic effects of the pandemic and, more recently, the war in Ukraine have unfortunately delayed our start date.”

Russia’s invasion, and the resulting breakdown of the West’s relationship with Moscow, have seen power and fuel prices soar, and certain construction materials become more expensive and harder to source. The Construction Leadership Council’s Product Availability working group recently warned that uncertainty over future prices was delaying contractors from signing up to projects.

Lynagh insisted: “Our funding partners remain fully committed to the project and we are working towards being able to start work this year.”

He added: “We have taken advantage of the delays to increase our focus on utilising new construction methodologies and materials, which are allowed within the current planning agreements.

“Doing so has allowed us to investigate how we can further improve the delivery of our Giants on the Quayside development in terms of its overall sustainability.

“This will ensure we deliver an enhanced development for the city, its people, and the millions of visitors who will come and enjoy Giants on the Quayside during its successful operation.”

At 140m-tall, the steel-framed Whey Aye Wheel at the centre of the Newcastle scheme will stand slightly higher than the London Eye and feature 60 cabins to take the public into the air.

The broader development will also include a five-storey visitor centre to accommodate food, drink and merchandise outlets, as well as a 686-square-metre LED screen on an external wall.

A three-storey Fun Warehouse will include virtual golf, climbing, gaming and roof-top pitches. Three smaller buildings will be created for food and drink sales.

The 4ha site on the north bank of the Tyne is located 200m from the Lower Ouseburn Conservation Area and there were a number of local objections to the project.

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