Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Plans to Make Shopping Destination World Class; Embracing a Special Occasion

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Plans to Make Shopping Destination World Class; Embracing a Special Occasion

Article excerpt

Byline: Graeme Whitfield Business editor graeme.whitfield@ncjmedia.co.uk

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 PS3m to improve the area around Northumberland Street, which attracts 13 million 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 PS20m programme that could see Blackett Street entirely pedestrianised and the threeacre 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 Fenwicks 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 pedestrianised area on Northumberland Road that could host pop-up events, plus the potential for better services for market stall holders. …

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