December 11, 2017

Ambitious plans to transform Newcastle city centre are unveiled

Ambitious

Ambitious plans to transform the heart of Newcastle city centre into a world-class shopping destination have been unveiled.

Newcastle City Council plans to spend an initial £3m to improve the area around Northumberland Street, which attracts 13m visitors a year and supports hundreds of jobs.

Plans to be discussed next week would see the closure of Blackett Street to traffic, the creation of new event space around Northumberland Street and a huge cleaning operation in the city centre.

But council bosses hope those plans will eventually lead to a larger £20m programme that could see Blackett Street entirely pedestrianized and the three-acre vacant plot on Pilgrim Street used to entice some of the world’s top retailers to Tyneside.

The council will open consultation in the New Year on an experimental scheme to ban buses and taxis from the busy Blackett Street.

It is hoped the move would make the area around Fenwick and the Monument safer for shoppers and improve air quality.

Ged Bell, the council’s cabinet member for inclusive growth, said: “Newcastle is a great city and one that never stands still. Our plans for the city centre set the scene for the type of place we want to be, and we need to be bold and ambitious for its future.

“As the regional capital of the North East, our vision for the city centre can only be realised by taking a long term and collaborative approach, working with partners to deliver lasting economic growth that everyone can benefit from. This puts people at the heart of our plans, and helps to make Newcastle a truly accessible city for all.”

The council has been working with businesses in the city centre for more than a year to pull together ideas on improving Northumberland Street.

As well as cleaning Northumberland Street and a number of side streets, there are plans for a pedestrianized area on Northumberland Road that could host pop-up events, plus the potential for better services for market stall holders.

The plans build on a number of improvements the council has been implementing around the city centre, which have helped Newcastle become one of the UK’s fastest growing cities for earnings and GDP, as well as seeing the second largest fall in unemployment.

It is hoped some of the improvements will be in place first for next year’s Great Exhibition of the North, and then for the city’s hosting of rugby’s European cup finals in 2019.

Sean Bullick, chief executive of Business Improvement District company NE1 Ltd said: “There has been significant investment in other shopping and leisure areas in the city centre, including Intu’s Eldon Square and Grey’s Quarter, and by retailers including Fenwick. We are delighted to see progress being made on East Pilgrim Street too.

“We now need to connect all those areas up by curating the city centre to increase footfall and dwell and to improve the relationship between the retail and the leisure offer. This initial investment and the interventions planned really up our game, and support our ambitions to become an international destination of choice.”

Adam Fenwick, from department store Fenwick, said: “High street shopping and consumer buying behaviour is changing and we must all collectively respond to this and face these challenges head on.

“Improving and connecting the retail and leisure core in Newcastle will certainly strengthen the city’s reputation as a modern, cosmopolitan European regional capital city. We’re delighted the council and its partners are investing in the heart of the city, which will help drive further improvements by retailers and property owners.”

Source

Leave A Comment