Revamp hope in Chinatown

A £220,000 bid to revamp Newcastle’s Chinatown has been revealed. The plans include pedestrianising Stowell Street, lighting up its Chinese Arch and adding a host of new oriental lighting to the streetscene.

A £220,000 bid to revamp Newcastle’s Chinatown has been revealed.

The plans include pedestrianising Stowell Street, lighting up its Chinese Arch and adding a host of new oriental lighting to the streetscene.

Following years of complaints over bins along the road, new decorative storage areas for bins would also be built, and a new marketing drive would be launched to bring more people into the area.

At a meeting this Wednesday, leading councillors in Newcastle will be asked to approve the cash boost.

The money would be used for a £20,000 marketing exercise, £5,000 for the lighting of the Chinese Arch, a £15,000 study on possible pedestrianisation, and £80,000 for new refuse storage facilities.

In a report to the cabinet, council chief executive Ian Stratford said: “Chinatown, centred on Stowell Street, saw considerable investment in the 1980s that contributed to developing its unique character but it now needs further investment to safeguard its future.

“It became clear by the late 1990s that China Town had become less attractive in physical and environmental terms and less attractive to visitors and customers alike.

“There were several reasons for this downturn, ranging from the disruption caused by the construction of The Gate leisure development and the feeling that this development turned its back on Stowell Street and the adjoining Co-op multi-storey car park, to the growth of alternative leisure destinations.

“The Stowell Street traders have responded to these competitive pressures by changing and adopting their offer, by investing in their properties and by marketing the area in a variety of ways.

“Nevertheless the perception remains that Stowell Street and the adjoining streets that made up Chinatown are still struggling but given the right support and investment could trade more successfully and make more of a contribution to the overall offer of the city centre.”

The council employed Wolverhampton-based Mike Smith Designs to draw up the designs for the new streetscene.

The Stowell Street bins, and the risk of them attracting vermin to the area, have been a longstanding concern to residents and customers of the many restaurants in the area.

Mr Stratford said: “It is now proposed to provide three high-quality bespoke oriental storage facilities on Stowell Street to address the unsightly nature of the bins.”

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