CITY businesses are celebrating after ministers confirmed a £15m facelift for Newcastle's Central Station.
The regional growth fund payout of nearly £5m will be added to Network Rail’s £8.6m of station improvements and business and council contributions.
Bosses at the business improvement group NE1 say the money will go on making the city station area more impressive to visitors, with work including upgrading pavements, changing the road layout and better signage.
In the station it is thought the improvements will include relocation the ticket barriers, which divided the station and prevent customers not immediately boarding a train from reaching cashpoints and other shops.
Sean Bullick, chief executive at NE1, said the work was important for the city’s reputation.
He said: “The basic idea is that this is the first glimpse of Newcastle and indeed the region that many people have when they arrive here and at the moment it is just not good enough.
“It has to be totally transformed and in these days when all we hear about is cuts and cuts then it has to be great news that we have £15m going into this part of the city.”
It has taken more than two years to devise the plan and submit the bid which will see work commence next year.
Deputy chairman of NE1 Gavin Black said: “This is great news for Newcastle and the region, a major piece in this part of the regeneration jigsaw and offers huge potential to deliver significant and long lasting improvements citywide.
“Credit is due to Newcastle Council for committing tremendous resources to the project and Network Rail in recognising early on what could be achieved, along with Faulkner Brown who helped with the design concept.”
Network Rail’s improvements will see new shops and “leisure facilities” as well as work done to passenger waiting rooms and toilets, and alterations to the existing bridge, with new lifts and escalators also due. The Grade I listed station will also be fitted with improved glazed canopies to flood the station with natural light.
Barry Rowland, chief executive of Newcastle Council and clerk to the Tyne and Wear Integrated Transport Authority, said: “We have worked hard with our partners NE1 and Network Rail for almost two years to secure this range of funding and foster a shared vision for a regional transport hub that will create the conditions for accelerated regeneration of the areas surrounding the station.
“We look forward to work starting next summer and progress being made on this important project.”