Virtual Newcastle Gateshead (VNG)

Virtual Newcastle Gateshead (VNG)

What is VNG?

Virtual NewcastleGateshead (VNG) is a 3D digital city model of Newcastle and Gateshead, developed in partnership with Northumbria University, Newcastle City Council and Gateshead Council.  Started in 2009, the project aims to streamline and increase the transparency of the planning process by providing a definitive, accurate, interactive city model, as an effective stakeholder communication and decision tool for a cost-effective way of understanding the wider implications of planning applications.


How is it used for Planning?

Since 2009, the development of the VNG model supports the urban planning process for two local authorities, by creating an accurate 3D massing model with focus on regular model updates, interactive navigation and version control. Newcastle City Council has consistently used VNG as an exploratory tool to better understand the impact of new development. It is important to recognise this facility is not a replacement for a Landscape Visual Impact Assessment (LVIA).


Using VNG for Planning Proposals

Initial inquires should send an email to to agree terms of contract and fee for the VNG service with Northumbria University before engaging with the local authority. This is a separate charge to pre-app and planning applications fees with the Council. Early pre-app is advised as the best starting point to engage with the Council to help consider the principle of development and understand the likely impact on the built environment.


The applicant shares a 3D model of the scheme with Northumbria University to be inserted into the city model. A workshop involving key officers, professional teams and Northumbria University will take place to better understand the scheme and its likely impact, which will help officers gain a greater understanding of the scheme and identify key views and potentially highlight areas concerns to discuss. Northumbria University will setup and save the camera locations from this session to be used as a basis for further exploration and design development.


Depending on the nature of the scheme sharing a series of options for early consideration is highly recommended.  Further discussion can continue following a VNG session as part of planning application process. This should be requested in advance by the applicant to ensure adequate officer time is available. The meeting can continue without the need for Northumbria University to be present.


For initial inquires please send an email to  You can contact us via