Phase two of plans to transform Newcastle Central Station and the surrounding land will be considered by the city council next week. The programme would free up more space in concourses within the station, provide additional pedestrian entrances into the station, improve short and long stay parking and move the taxi rank into the existing short stay car park at the front of the station.
The works would also pave the way for a new station multi-storey car park, commercial and residential housing on the Forth Goods Yard site to the west of the station.
Forth Goods Yard currently only has a single point of access via a narrow arch in the viaduct. The plans would develop a new access point, which would “unlock” the site’s development potential, says the council.
There would be a new western entrance and walkway from Central Parkway, opposite the entrance of the Centre for Life’s conference suite, linking the station to the Stephenson Quarter mixed use development, and a new lift inside the Orchard Street tunnel to provide additional access to the station. New traffic would be installed at the front of the station of improve traffic flows.
The proposed changes are needed to cope with increasing passenger numbers and traffic, says the council. It estimates that the passenger numbers will rise from the current 8.7m a year to 12m by 2023.
The programme would build on the first phase, completed in 2014, which saw the station entrance closed to traffic and a glass portico built, alongside a new public open space.
Central Gateway Phase 2 has a budget of £5.2m, including £3.3m from the North East Local Enterprise Partnership, £150,000 from Newcastle City Council and the remainder from Network Rail and London North Eastern Railway (LNER).
The proposed changes integrate with longer-term strategies for the city’s transport infrastructure, particularly measures to improve air quality and reduce congestion, says Newcastle City Council.
If the plans are approved by cabinet on 25 February and receive planning consent, enabling works would start later this year, with a completion date of 2021.
Further developments such as the new multi-storey car park, would be delivered by Network Rail and LNER by 2023 subject to the approval of their own business cases and funding applications. A Newcastle City Council spokesman said: “As part of the enabling works, there will be no change in the number of parking spaces but it’s fair to say that if subsequent proposals for a station multi-storey go ahead there will be a significant increase in parking capacity.”
The spokesman added that new cycle storage facilities will be installed on the west dock next to the station, but it was too early to say what the parking capacity would be.
Cabinet Member for Employment, Cllr Ged Bell, says: “The Central Station is the jewel in the crown of the North East rail network. The glass portico and shops have given visitors a much more pleasant arrival.
“However, with more and more people using rail, we need to make further changes in and around the station, so it is fit-for-purpose, and we can meet air pollution targets with better traffic flows at the front of the station.
“These initial proposals may be modest, but they are also an important step in delivering a wider vision. They show our desire to see the station and the surrounding area open for development and passenger’s enjoying their experience.
“Opening up the Forth Goods Yard could lead to new housing, offices and a multi-storey car park that will create jobs and widen the city’s housing offer.”
Paul McKeown, Network Rail Director of Sponsorship and Business Development, says: “This is an exciting project which has the potential to unlock growth for the communities and economies in the North East which our railway serves and to have very significant benefits for passengers, local residents, and other station users.”
Chris Cunningham, Head of North Region at LNER, said: “These plans would make a huge difference to improving access to the station and will make it easier for those visiting to explore the city.”
Learn more about projects to develop rail stations and surrounding land at Rail Stations and Property Summit on 27 February in London
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