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Newcastle's major investment in city centre public realm

Above: Ridley Place, Newcastle (Courtesy Jack Storey for LDA Design)

Ridley Place is the first street to complete in Newcastle City Council’s major investment into the city centre’s public realm. Others to follow in this LDA Design-led project include Grey Street, one of the UK’s premier city thoroughfares.

The aim of the investment is to ensure Newcastle’s civic spaces attract more people to the centre with higher quality public realm that is greener, more distinctive, inclusive, and more enjoyable.

Ridley Place is a lively street lined with independent shops and cafes. Previously there was nowhere to sit, so no possibility of spending much time here or enjoying takeout from one of the eateries.

New bespoke seating and planters, crafted by local company Raskl, will ensure Ridley Place becomes a relaxed place to dwell rather than simply pass through, better supporting local businesses. Designs have been influenced by Newcastle’s industrial heritage.

The revamp brings nature into the street for the first time via a pocket park with new trees and plants. New bike stands have been installed and the street has been fully repaved.

To help make Ridley Place a safe and lively place at night, warm and atmospheric overhead lighting by Michael Grubb Studio has been installed along the length of the street, suspended on wires.

LDA Design has used the project to support local artists and makers. A new mural greets visitors as they enter the street, with another planned later this year at the other end. The murals are part of the wider transformation that will make the city centre a free gallery to explore and enjoy.

John Simpson, a director at LDA Design and project lead for the transformation of Newcastle City Centre public realm, said: “Ridley Place is a great street with some fantastic businesses that need our support. We hope the changes we have made here will increase footfall from day through to evening.

“We want everything we do to improve the city’s civic spaces to be sustainable, superb quality and distinctive. It has been our privilege to work with local artists and makers like Raskl on the seating and planters to celebrate the city’s rich industrial heritage.”

Cllr Alex Hay, Cabinet Member for a Thriving City at Newcastle City Council said: “As a council, we remain committed to transform the city centre into a clean, green, more welcoming place that attracts visitors and investment and where local people feel a sense of belonging.”

To mark the opening of Ridley Place, the council, NE1 and businesses on the street hosted a celebration with a brass band, crafts for children and food stalls.

All improvements on Ridley Place have been funded through the Government’s Getting Building Fund.


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