Plans for the VESSL shipping container village on the site of the old Canvas Works in Lime Street, Newcastle(Image: Raskl)

Ouseburn shipping container village, likened to Stack and By The River Brew, finally set to go ahead

The VESSL development will include studios for creative businesses in Ouseburn, plus cafes and a roof terrace, if it is approved by city councillors


Hopes of building a new shipping container village in Ouseburn could finally win the backing of councillors next week.

Plans to turn the dilapidated Canvas Works site into a striking hub for creative businesses were set to be turned down by Newcastle City Council last year, before the developer was given more time to redraw its designs.

City transport officials had raised concerns that a lack of parking space at the Lime Street project would have caused road safety issues, but design studio Raskl has now returned with an updated proposal.

The development, known as VESSL, will comprise 34 steel shipping containers arranged to create 24 studios, three cafes or restaurants, and a third floor roof terrace.
A CGI of the proposed Canvas Works scheme in Ouseburn, Newcastle(Image: Raskl - Newcastle city council planning portal)

It has been likened to the Stack site in Newcastle city centre and the By The River Brew village on the Quayside.

After a hearing in front of Newcastle City Council’s planning committee was deferred last July, Raskl amended its plans by converting four existing parking bays on Lime Street into two loading bays for delivery vehicles to access the container site.

The Ouseburn Canvas Works building was once home to a sailcloth maker in the 1870s and later a mattress manufacturer, but is now run-down and surrounded by scaffolding.

Council planning officers said that the loss of the historic works would be “regrettable”, but that the redevelopment would provide “much needed small business units and uses an innovative industrial design”.

In a report to councillors recommending that planning permission is now granted for the scheme, they said: “The Ouseburn Valley demonstrates an evolving character away from industrial uses into a residential, commercial and entertainment district.

“The Canvas Works has a historical relationship with the Valley and the loss of the building is regrettable, however the threat of loss of its industrial character is reduced due to the use of shipping containers and their industrial connection.

“The existing building’s contribution to the conservation area is limited, and by virtue of this development will bring a derelict site back into viable end use for small B1 uses, where space is in demand in this area.”

The planning committee will determine whether to approve the scheme at a meeting next Friday, February 21.