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Competition: Newcastle retail core

Newcastle image by gary rogers
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Newcastle City Council is seeking a design team for a £30 million revamp of its main city centre shopping zone

The multidisciplinary team selected for the estimated £400,000 design contract will draw up plans to reconfigure Northumberland Street (pictured) as a new retail ‘spine’ for the city, while also transforming nearby Blackett Street, New Bridge Street West and Pilgrim Street into a pedestrian priority district.

The Newcastle City Centre Retail Core Transformation project will ‘declutter and reorganise’ the area. It will also consolidate servicing and deliveries away from the main street to create spaces for street trading, activities and busking. New public realm will also be introduced to boost dwell times while other investments will see existing frontages improved.

In its brief, the council says: ‘A successful and sustainable retail core is fundamental to our long-term vision of achieving and maintaining sustainable economic growth and becoming a significant EU destination city. Newcastle retail core is compact, and performance is strong but when compared with other EU and UK regional centres, there is scope to improve.

‘Newcastle City Council is seeking to appoint a lead designer for the retail core transformation programme. The selected organisation will require the skills, resources and experience to provide this service and play a central role in the successful delivery of the Council’s ambitious transformation programme.’

Newcastle is the eighth-most populous city in the UK and the largest settlement in the north-east of England. It is a major regional hub for education, government, commerce and entertainment, and receives around eight million visitors a year to its central zone.

Northumberland Street connects the Grade I-listed Grey’s Monument to the George Kenyon-designed Newcastle Civic Centre and Newcastle University. The initiative will transform the 400m-long street, which contains many large retail stores and the Eldon Square Shopping Centre, into a new civic thoroughfare.

Improvements to nearby Blackett Street, New Bridge Street West and Pilgrim Street will also be delivered as part of the scheme which aims to boost ‘accessibility, wayfinding and connectivity’ throughout the city’s core retail zone.

Ongoing projects nearby include the Sir Terry Farrell Building, which is being transformed into a £4 million hub for architecture and cities designed by Elliott Architects and Space Architects.

The winning team will be expected to feature an architect, landscape architect, civil and structural engineer, mechanical and electrical designer, and CDM principal designer. Rivington Land has already been appointed as lead adviser to the project. Cushman and Wakefield and Faulkner Browns created a masterplan to rejuvenate the area three years ago.

Applicants will be expected to hold employer’s liability insurance of £10 million, public liability insurance of £10 million, and professional indemnity cover of £5 million. Bids will be evaluated 60 per cent on response to the specification and 40 per cent on price.

The deadline for applications is 12noon on 16 April.

How to apply

View the contract notice for more information

Contact details

Commissioning and Procurement
Newcastle City Council
Newcastle upon Tyne

Tel: +44 1912777664
Email: corporate.procurement.team@newcastle.gov.uk
Fax: +44 1912114832 


David Theobald, assistant director of capital investment at Newcastle City Council)

David Theobald

David Theobald

David Theobald

Why are you seeking an external built environment design consultant to work on designs for retail core?

Newcastle is a city for all. Our unrivalled community spirit, heritage and architecture offers something for everyone, and it is fundamental to us that all of this is preserved as we work through our designs for the retail core. An external design consultant will need to understand the city and use its innate energy to deliver a city centre for the future, whilst respecting the past. We are looking for a team that is able to translate placemaking and design initiatives from other cities to Newcastle, delivering this for us in a way that encapsulates all that the city centre has to offer. We hope to harness the energy of Newcastle and use this to increase accessibility, enhance our community and create a welcoming, safe space for all.

What is your vision for the new city centre retail core area?

Our aspiration is to create a reconnected city, transforming the city centre to create an even better place, that Newcastle and its people deserve. Our aim is for the urban connectivity to integrate new developments alongside the city’s heritage, future-proofing the city centre for years to come. The transformation of Newcastle City Centre is a crucial part of the Council’s plans for the heart of our city for generations to come, creating a sustainable, people-focussed core. A significant part of this will be through our proposed changes to traffic access, which will create an increased number of safe public space, cycle routes and green spaces, giving currently congested streets and spaces room for pedestrians to enjoy the centre and experience all that it has to offer.

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