NE1 Launches Consultation to Shape Business Plan for the Next Five Years


< Back to latest

NE1, the Business Improvement District company for Newcastle city centre, has published a consultation document outlining its proposed plans and priorities for Newcastle city centre over the next five years.

NE1 Chief Executive Stephen Pa

The plans were presented to an audience of invited businesses at a breakfast briefing session on Thursday, 15 June. A ballot will be held later in the year giving the city’s business community the chance to reinstate NE1 for a fourth term and ring-fence more than £10m investment over the next five years. The money will be spent improving and shaping the city centre, at a time when Newcastle is undergoing transformational change.

The consultation document has been distributed to 1,400 businesses in Newcastle and NE1 are requesting feedback and input to help develop and agree a business plan that will determine the strategic direction of the company from 2024 - 2029. In September businesses will be balloted on whether to support NE1 to develop and deliver these agreed priorities and help set the agenda for the city until 2029.

In advance of the ballot, NE1 has spent the last six months holding extensive talks and face-to-face meetings with businesses across the city, as well as conducting consumer and business research. The aim has been to identify the priorities that best reflect the ambitions businesses have for Newcastle and help set the themes and ideas for the next round of consultation.

From the initial discussions and research, the key priorities NE1 has identified are:

- Providing a stronger voice for business. Continuing to lobby locally and nationally to increase investment in the city

- Improving access and links to the city; including parking and public transport provision as well as regional and national links

- Getting the basics right; ensuring Newcastle is cleaner and safer, with increased police visibility and response

- Curating the experience; celebrating the different areas and quarters of the city that make Newcastle unique while providing operational assistance and support for businesses

- Events; delivering and supporting events to drive footfall, spend, and raise the profile and perceptions of the city

- Promoting; delivering heavyweight marketing campaigns to attract visitors, with a year-round focus on digital and social media marketing for the city’s businesses

- Greening and sustainability; delivering permanent and temporary city centre greening and biodiversity, as well as waste rationalisation and communal recycling

If successful in the ballot, NE1 will focus on these key themes and actions to create the best possible trading environment for the city’s businesses for the future.

Over the course of the last five years NE1 has raised c.£1.8m per annum from the BID levy to fund its work across the city centre. This is generated by a levy on business rates for businesses in the city. Through local and national lobbying, NE1 secured a further £41.4 million investment on top of the levy, for projects in Newcastle, including the retail core redevelopment, Newcastle’s Christmas and New Year experience, and £470,000 in grants for 224 hospitality businesses to create pavement cafés to operate post-Covid.

Even with two years of pandemic, NE1 delivered a hugely successful events programme which played a critical part in helping the city bounce back quickly post-Covid, attracting over 340,000 visitors to the city centre in the last year alone. During this time, NE1 also played a prominent role in attracting and delivering major events including the Rugby League World Cup, three Magic Weekend events, as well as its own annual programme including Newcastle Restaurant Week which generates £1 million for the sector each time it is delivered, Summer in the City events and activations, and Screen on the Green. NE1 also work closely with the council on improving the city’s Christmas and New Year experience with the interactive laser show on the Quayside and evolving Christmas Markets offer key within this.

Another example of NE1’s responsive and pragmatic approach during the last term has been the creation of NE1’s Business Crime Reduction Partnership (BCRP). Over 120 members have joined the partnership which was set up in response to business concerns over retail crime and antisocial behaviour in the city centre. Through the BCRP, businesses now have an easy way to report low-level crime, which in turn provides valuable data for NE1, the police, and the council to allocate resources more effectively to tackle the problem.

Businesses can expect the same level of investment and activations over the next term if they vote ‘Yes’ to NE1’s BID renewal.

Stephen Patterson, Chief Executive of NE1 Ltd said:
It is a hugely exciting time for the city and NE1. Over the past six months, we have been discussing the challenges and opportunities facing the city’s business community and today, we have launched our formal consultation on businesses’ priorities for the next 5-years.

Over the next month, we will be contacting all of our businesses to test and refine these priorities. It is an opportunity for each business to influence and shape NE1’s plan for the future.

It is remarkable what the business community has collectively achieved over the past 5-years, and there is much to look forward to. The economic foundations of the city are strong and Newcastle is on the cusp of something special. It is crucial that the voice of business is heard at the highest level when decisions are being made that will have a lasting impact on the city. Now is the time for business to set the agenda and chart a course for the city until 2029.

Timetable for the consultation and the ballot

- Consultation issued 15 June 2023
- Consultation closes 14 July 2023
- Business plan issued 4 September
- Ballot papers issued 18 September
- Ballot closes 19 October

Businesses wanting to give their views should contact Stephen Patterson by email at, or by phone on 0191 235 7092.

NE1 Ltd Background

When it was first established in 2009, NE1 became the largest group representing businesses in Newcastle and the biggest Business Improvement District company in Europe. Since its launch it has been widely recognised as one of the most successful BIDs with initiatives and programmes that other cities have frequently emulated. It is now a key and well-established player in the civic governance of Newcastle and guides and influences the city’s strategic direction, as well as delivering projects that have a major impact on businesses and real significance for the people of Newcastle. These projects have included the multi-million pound investment and reshaping of Newcastle’s Central Station, the transformation of the Bigg Market and more recently the £37.5 million investment in Newcastle’s retail core.

More in latest

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Please let us know your preferences.

Please read our Cookie policy.