Tolent who was established in 1983 and are one of the largest construction companies in the North East were delighted to win the contract for the next step in the transformation of Newcastle Central Station.
The huge project is funded by the North East Local Enterprise Partnerships Local Growth Fund and is the second part of the project and will see the installation of two new pedestrian/cycle entrances on Neville Street and also Central Parkway. The project will also include a brand new concourse in the station and also the pedestrianisation of Orchard Street.
Proposals are currently underway to add a new ‘smart’ taxi rank to the front of the station, which will bring improved access and lessen congestion in the local area.
Newcastle City Council were given £4m funding from the Local Growth Fund to complete the required works for the transformation of Newcastle Central Station, which is run by LNER.
During the first part of the Central Gateway project, refurbishment took place both inside and outside of the station, including a new glass portico that features ticket machines, cafes, upgraded public space with pavement cafes in the area around the station. Enhanced cycling facilities and improved public transport links have also been included.
The second part of the project will bring improved connections to areas situated south of the station, such as Stephenson Quarter, Forth Yards and development areas on the quayside, which is hoped will promote investment and growth.
Since 2015, over £270m has been invested in major projects via the Local Growth Fund across all seven North East LEP local authority areas. These projects include the International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP) which is in Sunderland and South Tyneside, The Biosphere life sciences building which is on Newcastle Helix, the South Shields bus and Metro Transport Interchange in South Tyneside and also The Sill: National Landscape Discovery Centre which is based in Northumberland National Park. £2.5m was also provided by the Local Growth Fund in 2017 for the refurbishment of Newcastle Central Metro station.
The Local Growth Fund sees the delivery of the North East Strategic Economic Plan with the intention of creating a more productive, inclusive and sustainable North East economy whilst also creating 100,000 extra jobs for the region. Projects which are supported by the Local Growth Fund support the drive of innovations, enhance support for business, help economic inclusion, and either development of skills infrastructure or improved strategic transport locations and public transport infrastructure.
The entire £270.1m from the Local Growth Fund has been allotted in the North East LEP area and all in progress project are expected to complete by 2024.
For further information about the Local Growth Fund, visit https://www.northeastlep.co.uk/funding
Andrew Moffat CBE, Chair of North East LEP investment board, said: “The Local Growth Fund is designed to improve the quality of life for people living and working in the North East LEP region by investing in major capital projects that help create jobs and boost the local economy.
“The Central Gateway project is vital in ensuring Newcastle Central Station can accommodate growing passenger numbers, and the introduction of new lines and services in the future.
“Newcastle Central Station is one of the busiest transport hubs in the North East and the latest round of works will ensure people and goods can continue to travel fast and efficiently across our region, and the country.”
Michelle Percy, Director of Place at Newcastle City Council, said: “It’s great news that after all the consultation and permissions work is finally due to start at the Central Station.
“Creating new spaces, new entrances and a taxi pick-up point will open up the station which should act as a catalyst for further development at Stephenson Quarter, Forth Yards and Quayside West.
“It’s a fine example of how the city council, the North East LEP, LNER and Network Rail are working together to improve passenger experience at this attractive and busy gateway into our region.”
Claire Ansley, Director of Customer Experience at LNER, said: “Newcastle Central Station plays an important part in the city and wider region so we at LNER are very excited that the next phase of the transformation will soon begin. The enhancements being made will help further improve the station’s accessibility to the surrounding areas and provide an even more impressive welcome to customers travelling to the city.”
Paul Rutter, Route Director for Network Rail’s East Coast Route, said: “This is a crucial scheme which will really open up Newcastle Central station and transform how passengers move through the area.
“It’s great that we can now move on to the next phase of the project and we look forward to passengers reaping the benefits once complete.”
David Thompson, regional director for Tolent, said: “We’re delighted to have won this contract that is going to bring significant benefits to all those living and working in Newcastle city centre. Having completed previous works within similar live environments such as the refurbishment of Central Station and the iconic Haymarket Hub, our experienced teams are ready to start on site and we look forward to working with all partners to deliver another fantastic project for the city.”
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