Bigg Market Transformation One Step Closer With Appointment Of Architects


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NE1 Ltd is pressing ahead with its plans for the transformation of the Bigg Market, with the appointment of MawsonKerr Architects.

Bigg Market Transformation One

The plans for the Bigg Market are being delivered by NE1 Ltd, working in conjunction with Newcastle City Council and business and property owners in the area. Supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), the project will reinvigorate the Bigg Market, restore its historic significance to the city centre, unlock private sector investment and secure the city’s heritage for years to come by putting it on a sound economic footing.

There are 31 listed buildings in the Bigg Market and in consultation with the owners, MawsonKerr will define what is required to bring them up to standard, as well as redesigning the public realm to create a flexible, high quality public space in the heart of the city that provides an attractive location for businesses, residents and visitors.

The work will involve design ideas for the public areas, proposals for new uses for the gentlemen’s Victorian toilets and all detailed survey work for the buildings. Another key element of the architectural planning will be the compilation of a style guide for property frontages to ensure that all future signage and facia boards are in keeping with the unique heritage of the area.

NE1 received 15 expressions of interest on the project from national and international architects with Newcastle based MawsonKerr selected after a rigorous tender exercise. The team are experts in heritage projects of this sort and are adept at pulling together project teams comprising landscape architects, structural engineers and other heritage specialists.

The development phase of the project, mapping out designs for the public realm, detailing the work needed to the historic facades and seeking all the necessary permissions, lasts until May 2016. At that point NE1 will return to the Heritage Lottery Fund for approvals for the release of the next block of £1.6 million funding for the project. Together with match funding from other partners the project pot will be worth £3.2 million and, once delivered, will help unlock further investment in other developments in the Bigg Market.

Commenting on MawsonKerr’s appointment and what it means for the development, Adrian Waddell, Operations Director at NE1 said:

“We are delighted to have appointed MawsonKerr to help us with the next phase of the project. Everyone is galvanised, we have already met the owners or agents of all 31 listed buildings in the Bigg Market, they are as excited by the plans as we are and are looking forward to getting involved in the area’s rejuvenation.”

“This project is not without some significant challenges but it is an example of what can be achieved when the interests of landlords, with tenant businesses are aligned with public realm investment. With the fantastic grant support from the HLF all parties can now work together to deliver the project that will restore part of the city’s architectural heritage.”

Ged Bell, Cabinet Member for Investment and Development and Newcastle City Council commented: “The partners have done a great job securing Heritage Lottery Funding and getting businesses to buy into the wider vision for the area, supporting our Re-Newcastle programme of investment, focussed on renewing and reshaping our city. The work will not only restore this historic quarter of the city but will have a major impact on the surrounding area unlocking millions in private sector investment and creating new and better jobs for the city.”

Ivor Crowther, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund North East, commented;

“Regeneration involves transforming places. Heritage is often central to this process, whether in the form of restoring a much-loved landmark or refurbishing boarded-up buildings.

“We believe that historic townscapes such as Bigg Market are the beating heart of local places. Past Heritage Lottery Fund research shows that even small changes, such as improving shop fronts or restoring a building’s historic features can make a real difference. With the architects now on board this project is moving into the next phase of delivery and there are a lot of exciting improvements being planned.”

Will Mawson, MD of MawsonKerr Architects said:

“We are delighted to be appointed and working with NE1 on this significant project. We bring a team full of experience to build on the good work already completed. There is a weight of expectation surrounding the development of this historic area and we are eager to begin the tough work ahead transforming the Bigg Market into an area Newcastle can be proud of once again.”
Richard Robson, Lugano Group Chairman commented:
“The Lugano Group has a number of property interests in the area and we are looking forward to working with NE1 and other businesses to restore an important part of the city’s heritage. With the architects now appointed we can crack on with the exciting plans for the area.”

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