LATEST VISION: New image shows blackett street without any traffic
A new image of how a pedestrianised Blackett Street could look, Image: Newcastle City Council
A new image has been revealed of how a busy Newcastle city centre bus route could look without any traffic.
Newcastle City Council has unveiled its latest vision of a transformed Blackett Street, which bosses are hoping to ban vehicles from as part of £50m plans to radically redesign many of the city centre’s best-known streets.
The concept art shows the area outside Boots and Fenwick, looking towards Grey’s Monument, entirely paved over and lined with trees, other greenery, rocks, and benches.
It was released as the council urged city residents to have their say on the pedestrianisation plans before an October 15 deadline, when a consultation into the scheme is due to end.
Proposals to slash pollution in Newcastle’s main shopping area by removing bus traffic from Blackett Street have been in the works for years and have provoked the ire of bus companies, with 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.
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”.
Coun 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.
“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.
“These changes would alter the way we travel around and use some of our city centre streets and we’re asking for people’s views on this before any final decision is made.”
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.
Full details of the proposals and how to comment on them can be found here.
The plans are also available to view on the ground floor of the City Library, where council staff are holding drop-in sessions on October 11 and 14 from 11am to 2pm and on October 15 from 3pm to 5pm.
Words: Daniel Holland, Local Demcoracy Reporter
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