Newcastle City Council has announced its vision to transform the city centre and boost post Covid-19 recovery. Proposed designs by LDA Design will see key streets pedestrianised as part of a £50 million city centre wide revamp that aims to create a healthier green city, drawing investment into the centre.
The vision is for world-class public realm which reinforces identity and civic pride by providing a fitting setting for the city’s architectural buildings, landmarks and art installations. The Council wants to make the city centre a more beautiful and attractive place to spend time, bringing nature in and improving connectivity by re-connecting fragmented parts of the city.
Northumberland Street, the city’s main shopping street, will be transformed with trees and planting into a relaxed place to be enjoyed all year round. Nearby Ridley Place and Saville Row will host independent local retailers and craftspeople, with pop-up food stalls and a flower market in Ridley Place.
Further big changes include a longer-term plan to remove vehicle traffic from Grey Street and Blackett Street in the heart of the city centre, making them safer and improving the environment for residents and businesses.
This would see Grey Street transformed with new planting, paving and seating, to become a hub for cultural events and performance and ultimately the primary pedestrian route between the city centre and Quayside.
LDA Design is lead designer for the city centre transformation. The council has already secured over £20 million to begin work on a number of city centre streets this summer, with the remaining £30 million to be raised through grants and private funding. The transformation programme includes plans for the historic Grainger Market.
Leader of Newcastle City Council, Cllr Nick Forbes, said city centres need to adapt to survive. “Today we are launching our plans to create a city centre that gives residents and visitors what they want – pleasant open spaces to meet and socialise; a more diverse range of shops; safer streets that are free of traffic where people can walk freely, and attractions that offer families lots of things to do that are fun and educational.”
“We also need to provide great places to live in the heart of our city, in order for it to remain vibrant and exciting”.
John Simpson at LDA Design says Newcastle is placing public realm firmly at the heart of its re-emergence and growth. “We are entering a new era for city centres, and Newcastle has ambitious plans to create a greener, more pedestrian-friendly city for all generations to enjoy.
“Our approach creates spaces that celebrate Newcastle’s history, heritage and culture, making the public realm a destination in its own right and bringing more people into the centre where they will want to stay for longer.”
Residents and businesses will be asked for their views on the proposals. www.newcastle.gov.uk/citycentre