Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

City's Bigg Plans for Development

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

City's Bigg Plans for Development

Article excerpt

Byline: Simon Meechan Reporter

WORK will soon begin to give the Bigg Market a much-needed facelift.

Business improvement district company NE1 is tasked with restoring the Bigg Market and won a PS1.6m lottery grant in 2014. The council, landlords and private sector are chipping in the rest of the PS3m cash pot.

NE1 has a host of plans which it hopes will trigger a new lease of life for the street, which has not enjoyed the same transformation other parts of the city - such as the Quayside - have.

What's happening now? NE1 has undertaken an extensive survey of 31 listed Bigg Market, Groat Market and Cloth Market buildings; and has contacted landlords about what work needs to be done to improve or maintain them. NE1 is also offering to help landlords pay for some of the work.

The survey focuses on buildings on the northern half of the street. NE1's Bigg Market project manager Gareth Neill says this is because Ladhar Group and Malhotra's are already pumping money into the southern half, with exciting redevelopments planned for White Hart Yard, Balmbra's and Mosley Street.

How about the street itself? NE1 is transforming the Bigg Market into an "attractive, de-cluttered" street suitable for pavement cafes, al fresco dining and market stalls.

MawsonKerr architects have drawn up the plans. Edinburgh's Grassmarket is one area which has inspired the proposals.

The street will be redesigned into a four-level terrace. The space will be made suitable for market stalls and street furniture. NE1's portable tables and chairs have proved popular by the Quayside and the trick could be repeated in the Bigg Market.

Work begins in late spring and NE1 hopes to have the job done by Christmas.

"It's a big project," said regeneration manager Gareth. "We want people to think it's their space. …

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