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10 February 2015, 06:00 | Updated: 10 February 2015, 06:45
A grant of more than £200,000 has been given to help redevelop Newcastle's famous Bigg Market.
The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) is giving £202,800 the area as part of their Townscape Heritage initiative.
The project aims to reinvigorate the 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.
The funding will enable NE1 to deliver its long term plan of capital redevelopment of the Bigg Market which was a key strand of its manifesto on which businesses voted and re-elected NE1 for a second term in 2013.
As well as improving the public realm and re-establishing historic routes, one of the key elements of the plan is to work with businesses to enable them to improve the quality of the offer in the area, infusing new life into the Bigg Market.
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."