Major plans to develop Newcastle's Quayside take a step forward

By Graeme Whitfield

Plans to develop Newcastle’s Quayside to make the area into a hive of economic activity are moving forward.

NE1, the city centre business improvement district company, has appointed Danish firm Gehl Architects to work up plans for the area after it led similar schemes in Copenhagen, Melbourne and New York.

The company will be working with businesses and people living in the area, plus other organisations with an interest in the Quayside, in the hope of making the area more of an economic asset to the city.

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Developing the Quayside was one NE1’s key pledges when it successfully campaigned for its renewal in 2019 and now it says it wants to see a “bold, visionary future for Newcastle’s iconic Quayside”.

This week will see the launch of an online questionnaire which aims to garner ideas and wish-lists from the public and businesses on the future development of the Quayside.

The online survey will be active for the next two weeks and then Gehl will run a series of workshops in Newcastle with residents, businesses and other major stakeholders to explore themes identified in the online survey.

Gehl will report on its findings in early spring, identifying key principles and themes on how the area can evolve in the future.

Stephen Patterson, chief executive of NE1 said: “Over the next five to 10 years, in excess of £750m worth of investment is planned on the north and south banks of the Tyne, underlining the huge transformation that will happen in the area.

“It is the bits between the buildings, our civic space that stitches all of these amazing developments together. We need to think and plan for how the Quayside in its entirety is equipped for the future and this is the beginning of that conversation.

“We all have our own thoughts and views on what we love, and what could be better about Newcastle’s Quayside. It’s now time to share them. We want to hear from as many people as possible about what they want to see on the Quayside, and we want people to be passionate, bold and ambitious.

“We are delighted to be working with Gehl, who are world-leading experts in creating healthy, liveable cities that focus on people. Gehl’s work has transformed thinking on cities and civic spaces and how people interact and engage with the public realm. We are excited by the possibilities that the Quayside presents. We know it is the jewel in Newcastle’s crown and we are keen to make the most of our assets, improving the area for future generations.”

Ewa Westermark, who is leading on the Quayside project at Gehl, said: “Newcastle is an amazing city and we are proud to be working on this fantastic project with NE1 and the people of Newcastle. It is an iconic location that is recognised the world over, but most importantly, it belongs to the people of the North East.

“Newcastle’s Quayside already has many of the hallmarks of an internationally significant waterfront destination with so many natural assets; stunning views, architecture both old and new, and iconic bridges. Newcastle has huge untapped potential, all the ingredients are there. An important next step is to further strengthen the waterfront in order for the quayside to be a liveable, accessible and better connected place for all.

“Our international perspective provides a deep understanding of place and the principles that help create inclusive and engaging spaces, but it is the aspirations, ambitions, and views of local people that will make this vision unique. It’s an exciting time for the city, and we look forward to working with NE1 and the people of the city to help articulate what this exciting future might look like.”

Maximising the potential of Newcastle’s Quayside has been a key priority for NE1 since it was established in 2009, including the establishment of the Newcastle City Marina and the Quayside Seaside. NE1 also organised the Laser Light City display on the Quayside over the New Year.


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