You’ll learn:

  • About The Common Room’s legacy of collaboration Why NewcastleGateshead Initiative chose it for its new home
  • How the transformation of Newcastle and Gateshead will strengthen our international proposition as a destination of choice for both people and businesses

Innovation, hope, aspiration, collaboration. These are just a few of the words that come to mind when I think of The Common Room.

In the very heart of Newcastle, The Common Room has always been a place of co-operation and it is that spirit of togetherness that has endured throughout the centuries.

Now its restoration has provided us with a beautiful new heritage venue that will support economic growth in the region and offer exciting new spaces for innovation, exhibitions, events and lectures, as well as a new home for NewcastleGateshead Initiative (NGI).

But above all, it is The Common Room’s legacy of collaboration that we will cherish as we now look forward to the future after one of the most challenging times in recent history.

Working Together for the Future

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on our city, region, and society as a whole.

NGI has supported an extensive engagement process with residents, industry, businesses and community groups to learn how best to recover, build new partnerships and identify projects and opportunities for collaboration. As we pick ourselves up and begin to plan our recovery, it is vital that we work together to build a shared vision for our future.

At the Heart of Revitalisation

 Both Newcastle and Gateshead have ambitious plans for the revival and revitalisation of the urban core, our town centres and neighbourhoods.

The £50m City Centre Transformation Programme (CCTP) is an intrinsic part of Newcastle City Council’s long-held vision to improve the city cen- tre, which has become even more important as it looks to recover from the pandemic.

The CCTP will bring significant investment and ensure Newcastle is a place where businesses can thrive, people want to live, and tourists want to visit. It will build on the city’s vibrancy and welcoming nature and create a safer, greener, more appealing, and healthier city with outdoor spaces and activ- ities that families can enjoy together.

The vision for recovery will support the wellbeing of people and communities, drive innovation and create jobs, continue to transform the city centre and neighbourhoods, and invest in infrastructure to meet future needs. All underpinned by a commitment to net-zero and creating a more inclusive and equal society.

The Common Room will complement our growing business events and conference scene, including the £260m Newcastle Gateshead Quays regeneration scheme – a purpose-built conference and exhibition centre, dual branded 327-bedroom hotel and 12,500 capacity international arena. Led by Gateshead Council and its development partners, this is set to attract more than 300,000 additional visitors a year to our region, transforming the experience for them when they get here.

As we emerge from a year of lockdown, these investments will be key to helping our leisure and tourism businesses to grow back stronger than ever, as well as strengthen our international proposition as a destination of choice for both people and businesses.

The Common Room is at the heart of that revitalisation and we will continue to work together with our strategic partners to make tomorrow a place of hope and positivity.

A Home for NGI

At NGI, we have always been huge supporters of The Common Room and have a lot of shared values so when the opportunity arose to move our headquarters into the building, it made sense to us.

We share The Common Room’s vision of Newcastle as a place of culture and great innovation and invention. The Common Room is a huge asset that will form part of the gateway to our city. Situated next to the historic Central Station, it is a real hive of energy, creativity, and positivity.

It is really important to us that we at are the heart of innovation and if you look back at the building’s history, it has long been somewhere that has brought great minds together and a place for the sharing of ideas.

Post-COVID, it is vital that NGI fosters that same spirit of innovation to boost jobs, attract investment and to build a vibrant and strong economy.

The Common Room has a remarkable heritage and its stunning location will place NGI at the heart of the region’s economic recovery. We look forward to hosting our staff and visitors in such a beautiful building.

Our Story of Reinvention

It is exciting that The Common Room has a great history, but I am also excited about its great future. We can build on our wonderful heritage but our story is not in the past, our story is one of reinvention.

The plans for the future of Newcastle and Gateshead are bold and ambitious. Our city centre will have open spaces to meet and socialise; a more diverse range of shops; safer streets and a wealth of exciting things to see and do. The Common Room will welcome people as they visit our vibrant city and attend local, national, and international sporting and cultural events, such as the Rugby League World Cup and British Athletics.

I am confident that by working together, we can achieve this goal. Newcastle is a city that continues to surprise us – it continues to do more and more. Together with The Common Room, we will continue to evolve and tell a story of a great, modern city that is stronger, more progressive and welcoming to all.


Sarah Green is the chief executive of NGI. She has over 20 years of economic development experience including her previous role as CBI Director, Regions and Nations. She qualified as a lawyer with Clifford Chance working in London, Hong Kong and Shanghai, has a MSc in Urban Regeneration, an MBA and is currently completing a PHD scholarship at Durham University. Sarah also holds Non-Executive roles with Ryder Architecture, The National Trust, Newcastle University and TWAM, and is Chair of Bank of England’s North East Citizen Panel.

Sarah Green NGI