City centre improvements confirmed
Improvements to a busy area of Newcastle city centre are to go ahead following a successful funding bid.
Newcastle City Council has secured £2m to improve the area around Barras Bridge and the Haymarket – one of the busiest pedestrian areas in the city.
It’s part of a £10m package of funding for the North East from the government’s Transforming Cities Fund.
The £2m, together with an additional contribution from Newcastle University of over £700,000, will be used to make permanent changes to the road layout, based on the temporary arrangements which have been in place since the end of 2017.
The changes have seen more space created for people on foot, widened pedestrian crossings put in place and a simplified road layout for people in cars.
Cllr Arlene Ainsley, cabinet member for transport and air quality at Newcastle City Council, said: “I’m delighted that we have secured this funding, which will enable us to make permanent the improvements to the area around Barras Bridge and the Haymarket.
“This part of the city is close to the universities, hospital, civic centre, public transport hubs and the city’s main retail street, so it’s a very busy pedestrian area.
“The trial changes we made to the road layout were primarily to give people on foot more space and make it easier for them to cross the road.
“We’ve monitored how this has worked and listened to feedback from people and we’ll be making a number of changes to the current arrangements when we make the scheme permanent. This will include narrowing the crossing between Northumberland Street and Barras Bridge and putting countdown timers on so people know how long they have left to cross the road.
“This is part of our wider vision to create a city centre which is people-friendly, safe and accessible.”
Richard Dale, Executive Director of Finance at Newcastle University added: “It was important to us to support this project to provide a better and safer environment for our students, and it is excellent news the council has been successful in securing this additional funding.”
Changes to the temporary arrangements will include some alterations to the pedestrian crossings and improved cycling facilities at the junction of Barras Bridge and Claremont Road.
The council has worked closely with Newcastle University, which has supported the scheme, and has sought input from the architecture school on the designs for the new public space.
Work to make the permanent changes will begin this month.