Exciting plans for Central Station
On Tuesday 30 April, NE1 Ltd, Newcastle City Council, Network Rail and East Coast will unveil for the first time their joint plans to transform Newcastle Central Station and its surroundings. The multi-million pound regeneration project will transform the inside of the station and create a magnificent sweeping gateway into Newcastle.
These changes marry with the work that was recently announced by East Coast Rail and Network Rail to redevelop the interior of Newcastle Central Station.
The project is being funded by NE1, the Government's Regional Growth Fund, Newcastle City Council, East Coast and Network Rail. The combined investment for the project is £20 million.
The plans have been developed after extensive consultation with a broad range of user groups and the public are now being invited to view the plans at a drop in session at the Thistle Hotel on Tuesday 30 April from 3-8pm. Artist impressions and displays showing what is planned will be available to view with representatives from all the project partners available to answer questions on the major works.
East Coast and Network Rail's plans for the station interior include the pedestrianisation and glazing of the station portico, doubling space allocated for retail and improving passenger facilities with a new travel centre, better toilets and clearer signage.
The £8.6m project to improve the inside of the station and its portico, which is one hundred and fifty years old this year, is being funded by the Department for Transport's Station Commercial Project Facility Fund. East Coast is working with rail infrastructure provider Network Rail to deliver the improvements.
The plan is also to dramatically improve the area at the front of the station including altering how people access the station. The public realm will be transformed with wider footways, space for pavement cafes and improved pedestrian access to and from the station. Direct pedestrian crossings will also be provided on Neville Street and lower Grainger Street.
A two way cycle track will be created at the west end of Neville Street, south of St Mary's Cathedral and the flow of traffic at the front of the station will also be altered to ease congestion in the area, whilst maintaining the public transport links and drop off and collection points.
Taxis will no longer be able to enter the portico. Instead they will continue to rank from Orchard Street with a pick up area just to the east of the portico.
The planning team has worked closely with public transport operators and a range of interest groups to ensure the project delivers to its potential. The funding for the project was awarded in 2012 and since then there has been extensive consultation with a wide range of interest groups to gather views on what needs to be done to improve the area. Feedback from meetings with groups including the Elders' Council, Newcastle's Disability Forum and the Public Transport Users Group have all helped to shape the final plans.
The work is expected to be complete by Summer 2014.
Sean Bullick, Chief Executive of NE1 Ltd said:
"We are excited to be unveiling the dramatic plans for such a crucial part of the city. These plans are the results of over 3 years of hard work and will not only redevelop this immediate area but will also facilitate the regeneration of the city centre. While this is a fantastic project, it is only the first stage of a series of transformational developments."
Cllr Michael Johnson, deputy cabinet member for skills, business and enterprise said:
"The Central Gateway redevelopment is key to our ambition of transforming Newcastle into a truly international transport hub. Improving connectivity between core cities and other regions of the UK and Europe will help to drive growth and increase the competitiveness of the regional economy, while the public realm works will greatly increase accessibility and provide an enhanced link to the city centre."
East Coast Stations and Property Director Tim Hedley-Jones said:
"Newcastle Central station is a key part of the history and future of both the city and the wider North East region. The improvements will accentuate the important heritage of the Grade One listed building, one of only six such stations in the UK, and act as a stunning new gateway to the city for visitors.
"We believe the project will play a key role in the regeneration of the city centre and help to demonstrate that Newcastle and the North East are very much open for business."
Network Rail Route Managing Director Phil Verster said:
"Newcastle station is an incredibly busy and important transport hub for the North East. These improvements will help passengers to get the best from the listed building. Significantly, the finished station will also give a better first impression to visitors to the city.
"We are working closely with NE1 Ltd, the council and local business leaders to make sure the plans complement the city scheme to improve the area outside the station."
Information on the plans, the drop in events held and artist's impressions can be found on our Central Gateway page.