The council is set to approve a £3m package of improvements that will lead to a more attractive cleaner and safer city centre, providing lasting benefits and opportunities for the future.
The transformation will begin with a clean-up on Northumberland Street to make them more attractive and accessible spaces. Subject to consultation, Blackett Street will be changed to remove buses on a trial basis, offering cleaner and improved spaces that give priority to pedestrians and cyclists, and provide easier access to the shopping, leisure and cultural quarter.
Cllr Ged Bell, cabinet member for Inclusive Growth at Newcastle City Council 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.”
Working with partners NE1 Limited, local businesses and stakeholders, the council want to maximise the potential of complementary improvements already taking place in the city to extend its retail and cultural offer.
Sean Bullick, chief executive of Business Improvement District (BID) 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 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.”
Mark Williams, independent Chair of the Northumberland Street Working Group , and future President of Revo in 2018 said: “These plans form the first stage of an ambitious programme that a wide group of stakeholders have contributed to and support, as it impacts their city and investment. The council are leading by funding this phase, following which they and all other stakeholders need to contribute to the expansion and running of these improvements. The approach though is ground breaking and one which others will look to follow.”
The £3m package of improvements will create new spaces for activities, entertainment and events - partly on the main street and partly by extending paving on Northumberland Road to create an extended pedestrian space.
It is also proposed to reorganise and enhance street trading and alter servicing arrangements to properties, offering a less cluttered and people friendly environment. Blackett Street will be changed to remove buses on a trial basis to give people priority.
The council plans to undertake full consultation on its proposals with all stakeholders including bus and taxi operators, traders, retailers and businesses early in the New Year.