NE1 Ltd has received initial support of £202,800 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) as part of their Townscape Heritage initiative for the redevelopment of the historic Bigg Market.
The project aims to reinvigorate Newcastle Bigg Market area, restore its historic significance to the city centre and help unlock private sector investment to secure the city’s heritage for years to come.
The funding has been awarded to help NE1 Ltd progress project development plans and then apply for a full grant early in 2016. The HLF has earmarked £1,625,100 for the project, which, with match funding, will be worth £2.9 million of new investment into the Bigg Market.
The Bigg Market is at the historic heart of the city with 31 listed buildings, an ancient market area and is in close proximity to other historic city landmarks including St Nicholas’ Cathedral, the Castle Keep and the Central Station, as well as sitting astride key pedestrian routes through the city. The project aims to carry out essential conservation work including restoring listed buildings in the area.
Over the next 12 months NE1, supported by the City Council and local businesses, will compile detailed plans for the redevelopment project including seeking the necessary planning approvals and permissions. When complete NE1 will then re-apply to the HLF to release the delivery phase grant. If successful, work is expected to commence on the site in 2016.
Commenting on the award, Sean Bullick, Chief Executive at NE1 Ltd said:
“We are delighted that out of 30 submissions nationally, the Bigg Market proposal has been successful for Phase 1 funding. The Bigg Market has been failing to add value to the city for years; this project will reverse this. NE1’s vision for the Bigg Market, shared by Newcastle City Council and the business community, provides a real opportunity to re-create a historic quarter in Newcastle that is also commercially sustainable, making a positive contribution to the city centre in future.
“In helping prepare this bid we are enormously grateful for the support provided by Newcastle City Council, Plus 3 Architecture, Kevin Doonan Architects, Turner & Townsend and the North of England Civic Trust.”
“We are confident this positive first step will give private investors the confidence to bring forward their own investment plans, potentially worth millions to the area and local economy.”
Ben Greener, HLF’s Regeneration Advisor, said:
“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.”
Cllr Ged Bell, Cabinet Member for Investment and Development at Newcastle City Council said:
“Securing this funding is a real opportunity to breathe new life back into this historic part of the city, and aligns with our ambitious Re-Newcastle programme of investment, focussed on renewing and reshaping our city.
“Over the next few months, the council will be working closely with NE1 and other partners to develop these plans further to help unlock private investment.”
Barry Ladhar, Director, Ladhar Leisure Group commented:
“This funding will now unlock multi-million pounds of investment from businesses who have been waiting for a proper foundation on which to invest in the Bigg Market. The HLF funding will deliver significant public realm improvements and will reinvigorate the historic frontages of the buildings enabling businesses to match this with significant investment in their business interests, together this will result in millions of pounds being channeled into the area – a significant boost to Newcastle and the local economy. The change is starting to happen and our £2 million White Hart Yard redevelopment is testament to this – we’ve worked closely with NE1 over several years to ensure that our plans are a perfect fit with the collective vision for the city. We’ve owned the building for 15 years and had licenses in place for several years but knowing that there is now a collective approach to redevelopment, we are confident that the time is right to invest.”
Richard Robson, Lugano Group Chairman commented:
“It is great news that the HLF has recognised the importance of this historic area of Newcastle and are willing to offer financial support to help reinvigorate it. 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.”