MORE than s20m is expected to be announced for the North East today as the final two regional growth fund projects are unveiled.
Newcastle Central Station is to benefit from a s15m makeover, both inside and outside, as part of a successful regional growth fund bid. The project includes more than s8m from Network Rail.
Also expected to receive a multi-million pound boost is a regional growth fund bid by Bruce and Freddy Shepherds Shepherd Offshore. The bid from Shepherd Offshore is for works on the north bank of the Tyne needed to help attract firms to the site.
The Shepherds have already seen two firms based on their land enjoy regional growth fund success, with the coalition Government eager to show it has invested in the regions emerging renewable energy and offshore sector.
Those moves took a substantial blow this year when wind turbine manufacturer Clipper pulled out of plans to create thousands of jobs at a purpose-built Tyneside factory.
The latest regional growth fund decisions are expected to be confirmed today as the Chancellor looks to find some good news in his autumn statement.
Newcastle business group NE1, Network Rail and Newcastle Council will between them oversee more than s14.9m in investment into the train station.
Network Rail plan to transform the stations interior providing new shops, improved passenger waiting accommodation and toilets, better signage and alterations to the existing bridge, while adding lifts and escalators to make it easier to move around the heritage listed building. There will also be improved glazed canopies to flood the station with natural light.
NE1 and the city council plan to improve the area around the Central Station for pedestrians, drivers, cyclists and visitors to the city and help kick-start the economic regeneration of the area.
Gavin Black, deputy chairman of NE1, said: This is an excellent example of partnership working between the private and public sector, with all sides working together to achieve the aims of the project which will deliver major improvements to the city centre, cementing its role as the capital of the North East region.
Nick Forbes, leader of Newcastle Council, said: Newcastle Central Station is a key strategic gateway not just to Newcastle but the North East and it plays a pivotal role in demonstrating that we are a modern European city with a 21st century transport infrastructure equipped to support business, generate economic growth and provide warm welcome to visitors. These improvements will transform the area.
Phil Verster, route managing director for Network Rail, said: Newcastle station is an incredibly busy and important transport hub for the North East.
These improvements will help passengers to get the best from the listed building.