The Grade II listed Bolbec Hall, situated on Westgate Road in Newcastle, was built way back in 1909, with the construction being funded by the Literary and Philosophical Society with the intention of using the space as speculative offices and a potential source of revenue. However, as the building became increasingly in need of drastic restoration, the resulting drain on the society’s finances forced them to put the iconic building on the market.

Img: Newcastle Journal
On behalf of Bolbec Hall Ltd, interior design firm Collective Design are now heading up a long-overdue restoration project on the building, with their plans being recently unveiled in a listed building planning application submitted to city council planners.

The two-phase restoration will first focus on returning the building to its initial purpose, as a home to high-end offices available for rent, for which there is great demand in the area. These offices would be spread across the top five floors with two distinct design styles being proposed, allowing tenants to choose between “quirky, industrial open plan multi-use office space” and “a beautifully restored traditional style office of the highest standard”.

The ground floor and basement will be dealt with during phase two of the restoration project, and that is where the plans have caused some uproar in the local community.

The current proposal for phase two would see the ground floor and basement converted into a bar with an accompanying 100-plus cover restaurant. However, as the area is already saturated with pubs and other such businesses, the plans have somewhat angered the local community. In response, Collective Design have stressed that as it stands, those plans are not final and are subject to change. In fact, they are yet to even enlist an operator for the proposed on-site bar.

Chloe Chittenden of Collective Design further commented on the plans, reaffirming that only the office phase is currently being actively pursued:

“This is a two phase planning application and the first phase is to restore the offices. The top floor has an amazing skylight and would make amazing offices for tech firms,” said Chittenden.

“The second phase will hopefully see a bar and restaurant on the ground floor and basement but we are taking it slowly because we are aware of restrictions and other businesses in the area, so we will just see how it goes. There’s no operator lined up.

“We got access to the building a couple of months ago and loads of ideas started to formulate as soon as we were inside. There’s no doubt in my mind that the conservation team and planning team at the council will want to get more involved and there might be a couple of changes, but it has always been offices.

“We are just hoping to make them the best offices in Newcastle. I think it’s got potential to be incredible.”

Sam Bonson

Sam is an aspiring novelist with a passion for fantasy and crime thrillers. He is currently working as a content writer, journalist & editor in an attempt to expand his horizons.
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