The next phase of Newcastle Central Station’s multimillion pound transformation is set to kickstart in September.
North East construction company, Tolent, will be leading the works which have been funded by the North East Local Enterprise Partnership’s Local Growth Fund.
The second phase of the Central Gateway project involves the construction of two, brand-new pedestrian/cycle entrances at Neville Street and Central Parkway, alongside the creation of a new concourse within the station, and the pedestrianisation of Orchard Street.
Proposals for a new ‘smart’ taxi rank – a new form of information system for taxi users/ drivers, which makes use of sensors at taxi stands to monitor the number of waiting taxis in real time – are currently under review.
The construction of the rank would mean improved access, paired with reduced congestion in the area.
The development will be managed by LNER, and £4m from the Local Growth Fund has been awarded to Newcastle City Council to deliver the works at Newcastle Central station.
Andrew Moffat CBE, Chair of North East LEP investment board, said “the Local Growth Fund is designed to improve the quality of life for people living and working in the North East LEP region by investing in major capital projects that help create jobs and boost the local economy.”
The most recent round of works will mean quicker and more reliable journeys, massively benefiting Newcastle Central Station which acts as one of the busiest transport hubs in the North East.
The Chair added, “the Central Gateway project is vital in ensuring Newcastle Central Station can accommodate growing passenger numbers, and the introduction of new lines and services in the future.”
The first phase involved the refurbishment of the inside and outside of the station, a new glass portico with ticket machines and cafes, enhanced public space and pavement cafes in the area surrounding the station, upgraded cycling facilities, and improved public transport links.
Phase two will connect communities by improving links to areas to the south of the station, including Stephenson Quarter, Forth Yards and development areas on the quayside, consequently prompting investment and growth.
Claire Ansley, Director of Customer Experience at LNER, said “the enhancements being made will help further improve the station’s accessibility to the surrounding areas and provide an even more impressive welcome to customers travelling to the city.”
Since 2015, over £270m has been invested by the Local Growth Fund in major capital projects across all seven North East LEP local authority areas.
Ventures include: the International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP) in Sunderland and South Tyneside, The Biosphere life sciences building on Newcastle Helix, the South Shields bus and Metro Transport Interchange in South Tyneside, and The Sill: National Landscape Discovery Centre in Northumberland National Park.
The latest investment follows the £2.5m awarded from the Local Growth Fund towards the refurbishment of Newcastle Central Metro station in 2017.
The fund supports the delivery of the North East Strategic Economic Plan, which aims to propagate a more productive, inclusive, and sustainable North East economy, generating 100,000 high-quality jobs in the region.
All in-progress projects are set to be completed by 2024, and all £270.1m from the Local Growth Fund has been allocated in the North East LEP region.
Paul Rutter, Route Director for Network Rail’s East Coast Route, said “this is a crucial scheme which will really open up Newcastle Central station and transform how passengers move through the area.
He concluded, “it’s great that we can now move on to the next phase of the project and we look forward to passengers reaping the benefits once complete.”