First Spade in the ground as Bigg Market Rejuvenation Begins
Contractors have moved onto the site to start the first phase of the public realm refurbishment, which will take 6 months to complete.
During the works, conservation specialists, Historic Property Restoration Ltd will be working hand in hand with businesses to minimise any disruption to trade and to the public. The first block of work will commence outside on the South West quarter of the Bigg Market.
The redevelopment is the result of a successful NE1 Ltd bid for £1.6 million Heritage Lottery Funding to transform the area, which with match funding from NE1 Ltd, Newcastle City Council and property owners, will finance the £3.2 million redevelopment of the Bigg Market. NE1 has continued confidence of further private investment in the area with £41 million already committed to neighbouring projects including the White Hart Yard Development, The Malhotra Group’s planned Hotel and the arrival of Revoluçion de Cuba.
One of the major aims of the project is to restore the economic fortunes of the Bigg Market reversing decades of underinvestment whilst re-establishing the area in Newcastle’s historic core, alongside both the Castle and St Nicholas’ Cathedral.
On Monday 21 May, the project team assembled on site to watch the works commence. In attendance were representatives from NE1 Ltd, Newcastle City Council, the contractors HPR, Landscape Architects Southern Green and Ellen Creighton of the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The first tranche of activity will see the public realm areas of the Bigg Market refurbished – with the creation of a series of levelled terraces, high quality street furniture, additional greenery and an improved lighting scheme.
The work will take six months to complete and during this time, NE1 Ltd will continue to work with businesses who are eligible for HLF grants to restore buildings and shopfronts.
The whole project aims to unlock the commercial potential of the area and help reposition the Bigg Market as a popular destination of quality creating the right conditions to encourage people, business and events back to the area. By creating appealing, functional and useable spaces NE1 hopes to enliven the area and introduce a programme of events and activities to bring the space back into wider use.
As part of the HLF grant, NE1 Ltd are working with delivery partners including Newcastle City Council and the North of England Civic Trust to deliver an activity plan which includes new themed events, exhibitions and educational resources that will not only help to preserve the area’s future but also protect it’s past.
Adrian Waddell, Chief Executive of NE1 Ltd said:
“The contribution the Bigg Market could make to Newcastle’s economic fortunes has been overlooked for years. We’re excited and very proud to see this transformation get underway, a great example of what can be achieved with collaborative working. This investment will transform this long neglected area of the city and breath new life into its public realm and help provide an economically sustainable future for the important listed buildings that surround the area.
“We’ve got a great professional team working with us on this project, including Mawson Kerr Architects, Southern Green Landscaping, legal advice from Muckle and surveying from Artis. For them too, this is a big day and a great milestone reached.”
“The Bigg Market is at the historic heart of the city with 31 listed buildings, an ancient market area and is in close proximity to other historic city landmarks including St Nicholas’ Cathedral, the Castle Keep and the recently developed Central Station, as well as sitting astride the key pedestrian route from Central Station to Grey’s Monument. We can’t wait to unlock its potential and set a precedent for other investors to follow.”
Ged Bell, cabinet member for Employment at Newcastle City Council said;
“This ground breaking marks an important milestone for the redevelopment of the Bigg Market, an important part of our city centre’s character and charm.
“Over the last few years the area has not enjoyed the same level of investment as other parts of the city centre, but this project will see that change and the Bigg Market will become a vibrant, attractive hub once again.
“Newcastle City Council are proud to be working alongside NE1 and the architects to make this vision a reality”