Grainger Market and Old Eldon Square

Grainger Market and Old Eldon Square

Newcastle city centre is the economic engine of the North East. We want to establish the city as a significant and unique European destination for tourism, business and investment, and create a place which our residents continue to be proud of.

 Our city centre is underperforming. Covid-19 has exacerbated these challenges. We have an output-gap of £4.9bn and low levels of knowledge-intensive jobs. We need to attract investment to close this gap. Investing in the quality of spaces, environment and mixed-use offer at the historic heart of our city will bring the confidence private investors need to do business. 

 If the bid is successful, our two investment packages, Grainger Market and Old Eldon Square/Blackett Street will dramatically improve the quality of the Grainger Town area and protect its heritage. They will significantly contribute to our city centre transformation and generate optimal economic and social impacts benefiting the wider region and our neighbourhoods.  

Map showing  Grainger Market and Old Eldon Square/Blackett Street

Grainger Market is the city’s oldest and most important retail asset. It needs protecting and enhancing.   

 Old Eldon Square is an important historic asset. Its current layout limits use for civic and cultural events and investment could mean increasing the use by more audiences who will engage in the story of this civic space. Blackett Street is heavily congested and severs the link between Old Eldon Square and Grainger Town.  

These issues detract significantly from visitor experience, present a poor gateway and result in weak investment which undermines our economic performance.  

Restoring Grainger Market and creating space for cultural activities will transform this iconic part of British retail history. It will become an international visitor destination that redefines urban retail - a food and produce retail ‘destination’ to rival the best European markets. Its striking architecture, diverse mix of independent traders and vibrant night-time events will draw large numbers of people to increase destination-retail tourism.   

Old Eldon Square will become a multi-functional, elegant, civic space, anchored by spectacular interactive fountains with the historic Cenotaph at the heart of the square. Cafes, bars and restaurants will bring vibrancy day and night. The pedestrianisation of Blackett Street to New Bridge Street West will transform it into a linear-park of ecologically biodiverse rich rain-garden that cleans the air, attenuates stormwater, and cuts carbon emissions.  

Linking these historic assets physically will create a high-capacity world-class civic space for performances and celebrations and will boost Newcastle’s competitiveness for international-scale events. 

SMART-city digital-infrastructure, including ultra-fast wifi will enable a diverse range of major events, and via the Urban Observatory sensors will inform the future planning of the city.  

 The extension of the city’s low-carbon heat network, removing traffic from the area and new planting/biodiversity will improve air quality and reduce carbon emissions. 

 Our transformational designs are sensitive to our rich heritage, embrace cutting-edge digital and green technology and promote shared wellbeing and prosperity. 





Public Match-Funding  


Grainger Market 




Old Eldon Square/Blackett St 








Heat Network 




Project Management  






£ 6,223,938 


Spend in 2021/22 is £2m LUF. 

Expected economic impact from LUF investment: 

  • Reoccupation of 10,201m2 underutilised city centre GEA-space (20% of vacant floorspace)  
  • 646 gross FTE jobs  
  • £175m+ cumulative net-GVA (£136m+ @NPV)  
  • £62m net Land-Value Uplift (£56m NPV) 
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