The general public are invited to drop in and see the plans to revive Newcastle’s Bigg Market with a major regeneration project. will be hosting a series of public drop in sessions in March to unveil its exciting multi-million pound redevelopment plans for Newcastle’s Bigg Market, the historic heart of the City Centre.
Business Improvement district company, NE1 Ltd, will be hosting the sessions on Monday March 21 and Tuesday March 22, from 1 – 5pm at The Hub, Floor E, Milburn House, where visitors will be able to see artist impressions and CGIs of what the Bigg Market will look like when the work is complete.
NE1 is keen to show off its plans for the area, which have already been warmly received by businesses and property owners, as well as by historic building enthusiasts and organisations in the North East.
The aim of the plans is to transform the Bigg Market, re-establishing it as a destination with a compelling day and night-time economy. NE1 hopes to access £1.6 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund, which with match funding including from NE1 Ltd, Newcastle City Council and property owners, will see £2.9 million of new investment into the area. NE1 is confident that this investment will act as a catalyst for wider economic regeneration and up to £30 million private sector investment in the surrounding area.
Appointed by NE1 Ltd, MawsonKerr architects have drawn up the plans for the Bigg Market redevelopment after close cooperation with among others, the Disability Access Forum. The forum has offered advice on developing sympathetic designs which work to reduce hazards for the visually impaired and disabled as well as building in the needs of older people into the design of the area, its lighting and street furniture.
The most significant part of the plans is the proposed levelling of the street to create four terraced areas that will run the length of the Bigg Market. The terraces will provide multi-functional outdoor space suitable for accommodating a range of commercial opportunities such as outdoor seating and tables for restaurants and other venues, as well as creating space suitable for the return of market stalls and/or other outdoor events.
Another proposed addition is the introduction of more trees and soft landscaping, together with improved lighting designed not only to reduce anti-social behaviour but to add feature lighting on bannisters, walls, and to highlight architectural design detail on some of the significant heritage buildings.
The plans aim to create a legacy for the whole area and an economically sustainable business model for owners of its listed buildings. Improving and investing in the fabric of the buildings and restoring their facias will go some way to achieving this, but the aim is to restore the Bigg Market as a destination creating the right conditions to encourage people, business and events back to the area. By creating appealing, functional and useable spaces it is hoped that the area will be enlivened and a programme of quality events and activities can be developed which will work to keep the Bigg Market active.
Commenting on the plans and what it means for the city, Adrian Waddell, operations director at NE1 Ltd said: “NE1 is tremendously proud of the area, the plans and what will be achieved when these plans come to fruition. We have been hugely encouraged by the support we’ve already received. People are understandably proud of this city and acknowledge that the Bigg Market has huge potential that is currently under exploited. These changes are transformational and will reinvigorate this old, historic heart of the city and link it to other historic sites like the Cathedral, Castle Keep and other ancient buildings in the surrounding area.”
Cabinet Member for Investment and Development, Cllr Ged Bell, said: “In many ways, the Bigg Market is the historic heart of Newcastle city centre where all manner of commodities were bought and sold through the generations. It is badly in need of regeneration so that once again it plays its full part in the city’s economy. The artists’ impressions are certainly impressive but it’s vitally important that residents, businesses and visitors have the chance to have their say before any work begins.
“It’s an important project and we must get this right.”