Newcastle Council unveils £50m plans to pedestrianise city-centre street

Credit: Newcastle City Council

Newcastle City Council has unveiled its latest plans for Blackett Street in the city, where it hopes to ban vehicles.

It is part of a £50 million plan to redesign many of the city centre's best-known streets, in hopes to bring down levels of pollution.

Councillor Ged Bell, the Council's Cabinet Member for Development, Neighbourhoods and Transport, said: "Transforming our city centre has been a long-held ambition and the impact of the pandemic has only reinforced the need for action to support our local economy and businesses."

Mr Bell added: "The proposals we are putting forward are designed to help achieve this by allowing the space within the city centre to be used differently, creating a more attractive place where people can spend time and enjoy what the city and local businesses have to offer.”

Public transport operator, Stagecoach said earlier this month that it had "serious concerns" about the loss of access to the city centre for people who rely on bus travel and a "detrimental impact on the city's economy".

Stagecoach having claimed that it lost 120,000 passengers when the route was closed during the 2019 Christmas markets.

If public transport operators choose to make a formal objection to the plans, that would trigger a public inquiry to determine whether or not they can go ahead.

Alongside the closure of Blackett Street, New Bridge Street West and the northern section of Pilgrim Street to vehicles, the council is also proposing a series of changes for delivery vehicles, taxi ranks, and parking spaces around the city centre.

They include proposals to significantly alter delivery times on Northumberland Street, so that no vehicles are allowed on the high street between 8.30am and 10pm.

Street traders have expressed fears that the move could make it impossible for them to continue, as they would be forced to work from very early in the morning until late at night in order to set up and clear away their stalls.

The council is asking for city residents to have their say on the pedestrianisation plans before the October 15 deadline, when a consultation into the scheme is due to end.