PUBLIC REALM ISSUES - Improving the Public Realm, Streetscape, Public Squares and Fountains, Street Signage etc - SkyscraperCity
 

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Old November 27th, 2008, 04:04 PM   #1
Newcastle Historian
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PUBLIC REALM ISSUES - Improving the Public Realm, Streetscape, Public Squares and Fountains, Street Signage etc

.
The clutter of 'To Let' and 'For Sale' signs all over the place . .

Quote:
Originally Posted by geordiejon
As you walk through the city centre you can really tell the UK is in recession by the number of To Let signs all over the place. In my opinion as Grey Street is so beautiful I don't think the To Let signs should be allowed to stick out from the buidling. I had read that in Bath to let or for sale signs have to be placed in the windows so as not to damage the overall look of the streets. I am not saying that all streets should follow this, but Grey Street specifically shouldnt have awful bright red To Let signs sticking out from the building.
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Originally Posted by Newcastle Historian
Greg (next time you're on here) the above seems an excellent idea. Is there anything that can be done, similar to Bath, in the Grey Street (or even all of Graingertown, perhaps) area?
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Originally Posted by gregstone View Post
I'll put a question down for the next city council meeting - we've just had the October one so it will be first week in November.
Greg,

I know that you will be very busy at these meetings, but I have been meaning to ask - was the above was discussed at all?

Thanks.
.

Last edited by Newcastle Historian; December 10th, 2011 at 03:35 PM.
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Old November 27th, 2008, 04:19 PM   #2
geordiejon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Newcastle Historian View Post
Originally Posted by geordiejon
As you walk through the city centre you can really tell the UK is in recession by the number of To Let signs all over the place. In my opinion as Grey Street is so beautiful I don't think the To Let signs should be allowed to stick out from the buidling. I had read that in Bath to let or for sale signs have to be placed in the windows so as not to damage the overall look of the streets. I am not saying that all streets should follow this, but Grey Street specifically shouldnt have awful bright red To Let signs sticking out from the building.

Originally Posted by Newcastle Historian
Greg (next time you're on here) the above seems an excellent idea. Is there anything that can be done, similar to Bath, in the Grey Street (or even all of Graingertown, perhaps) area?



Greg,

I know that you will be very busy at these meetings - but been meaning to ask if the above was discussed at all?

Thanks.
Yeah did anything happen with this? I suppose seeing as we are in a recession the companies trying to let the buildings out will state the council are putting their business and the landlords at a risk.

I see we will be seeing the closureof Woolworths on Clayton Street- probably after xmas. Shame isnt it? There has been a woolies forever? Tought times isnt it?
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Old November 28th, 2008, 02:22 PM   #3
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The question on lettings boards was answered at the meeting in Nov - I haven't got a verbatim copy but essentially the answer was that there was no existing policy on restricting to let boards on historic buildings, but that the issue was recognised and that the council would prefer to use a voluntary code of practice with landlords/agents before having to legislate on this.
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Old November 28th, 2008, 03:00 PM   #4
geordiejon
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Shame about the to let signs.

I can't seeing any estate agents taking any notice.

It is just a shame looking down Grey street with its perfect arc down the hill broken up with bright red boards. What i can't work out though is that surely a to let sign is an advertisement? Its advertising that the building is to to let- and there is legislation for adverts isnt there? We all remember the hoo har with the ad that was to go on scaffolding on Tyneside Cinema?

Even a shop front needs planning persmission for a sign on its shop or window? What is the difference with a to let sign?

.
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Old November 28th, 2008, 03:22 PM   #5
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@Geordiejon, here is the Ad Regs for For Sale/To Let Signs.


Class 3 - Miscellaneous temporary advertisements

Description
3A. An advertisement relating to the sale or letting, for residential, agricultural,
industrial or commercial use or for development for such use, of the land or
premises on which it is displayed.
Conditions and Limitations
3A.—(1) Not more than one advertisement, consisting of a single board or two
joined boards, is permitted; and where more than one advertisement is displayed,
the first to be displayed shall be taken to be the one permitted.
(2) No advertisement may be displayed indicating that land or premises have been
sold or let, other than by the addition to an existing advertisement of a statement
that a sale or letting has been agreed, or that the land or premises have been sold
or let, subject to contract.
(3) The advertisement shall be removed within 14 days after the completion of a
sale or the grant of a tenancy.
(4) No advertisement may exceed in area—
(a) where the advertisement relates to residential use or development,
0.5 square metre or, in the case of two joined boards, 0.6 square metre in
aggregate;
(b) where the advertisement relates to any other use or development, 2 square
metres or, in the case of two joined boards, 2.3 square metres in aggregate.
(5) Where the advertisement is displayed on a building, the maximum projection
permitted from the face of the building is 1 metre.
(6) Illumination is not permitted.
(7) No character or symbol on the advertisement may be more than 0.75 metre in
height, or 0.3 metre in an area of special control.
(8) No part of the advertisement may be higher above ground level than
4.6 metres, or 3.6 metres in an area of special control or, in the case of a sale or
letting of part only of a building, the lowest level of that part of the building on
which display is reasonably practicable.
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Old November 28th, 2008, 03:50 PM   #6
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I understand there must have been some kind of regulation on it, but in my opinion a to let sign on Grey Street looks 100 times worse in a conservation area and listed building than, an advert on temporary scaffolding in the same area? The council made such a fuss about the ad's but yet our conservation area with numeorus listed building is littered with to let signs sticking out. I am not saying they shouldnt have a to let sign but that they shouldbe in the window rather than sticking out. I am not saying Newcastle is on a par with the world heritage site that is Bath, and I don't think all of the city centre, or even all Grainger Town should not be allowed to do this, but Grey Street especially , Britains best street shouldnt be spoiled by these signs.

Bath and North East Somersets document on the prohibition of these signs are on the attached link:

http://www.bathnes.gov.uk/committee_...0May%20051.htm
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Old November 28th, 2008, 05:35 PM   #7
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The full verbatim response:

Although the Council has given recent consideration to policies on to-let advertising in residential areas such as Jesmond, the City Centre has much more of a commercial focus where there is an expectation of various forms of commercial advertising. However controls do exist on fixings to the City’s listed buildings. Officers are also tackling a number of instances of more permanent types of signage which have been installed without consent on buildings within the City Centre, usually within the Conservation Area. Grey Street and the rest of Grainger Town is clearly a sensitive area and it is important that its character and appearance is maintained. We believe appropriate enforcement is the best way to achieve this.
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Old November 28th, 2008, 06:14 PM   #8
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But enforce what? Because you are still allowed to put a big bright red to let sign right up and down Grey Street- which really devalues the character and appearance of Grey Street. I mean if an office is to let for years (example of the Xmas Box) that advertisment 'to let' of that building is up for years and years surely that isnt right, when you can't put an ad on scaffolding in the city centre- which might only be up there for a few weeks or months at most.
I reckon that the for sale or to let of commercial buildings don't really need the signs up anyway- businesses don't stroll though the city centre and think, 'mmmm, that looks like a nice office, lets phone them up and have a look" businesses have VERY specific needs- floor size etc, and they contact agents with their needs and the agent then gives them a list of the properties available. Houses are different, people think they like an area and walk around and see what is up for sale sign and phone up to have a look inside.
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Old November 28th, 2008, 07:23 PM   #9
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I would suggest that a letter of complaint to the planning enforcement team asking them if they will take action might make for an interesting test case.

Unless and until they receive a complaint I would imagine they don't feel there's a need to vigorously pursue the issue.
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Old September 22nd, 2009, 02:27 PM   #10
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Hi all,

I have just been reading the thread Newcastle & Gateshead : Full Summary of projects and found it very interesting, although i did get a little lost reading the 5000+ posts.

I was wondering if we could discuss all of the Newcastle & Gateshead’s public realm and possible areas of improvements, on this thread.

Covering;
  • Poorly designed public areas
  • Ideas for location and design of public squares
  • Locations for Fountains
  • The Grainger town project area
  • Problem aspects, street signs, 'to let' signs, etc

One thing i have noticed in my time in Newcastle is the lack of connected public squares. Especially when compared to cities such as Manchester and Birmingham. Although what i have seen in regards to the East Pilgrim Street Development looks promising.

Anyway, let the discussion begin!!

Last edited by Newcastle Historian; December 10th, 2011 at 03:38 PM.
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Old September 22nd, 2009, 02:49 PM   #11
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On the subject of public squares, I think Newcastle is lacking a large main one, there are a few small ones scattered around the city centre, I guess the main one is old Eldon Square, but its of rather small size and can become very packed.
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Old September 22nd, 2009, 02:59 PM   #12
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On the subject of public squares, I think Newcastle is lacking a large main one, there are a few small ones scattered around the city centre, I guess the main one is old Eldon Square, but its of rather small size and can become very packed.
and which is surrounded on three sides by the Hideous shopping mall after our esteemed council thought it would be a good idea to demolish the previous Georgian buildings.

The main 'square' imo is not a square at all and bisected by a busy bus route - it's the area around Monument which basically serves as the meeting point for Blackett st, Grey st and Grainger st as well as the nearby pilgrim st and northumberland st.
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Old September 22nd, 2009, 03:07 PM   #13
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I think what annoys me most about the city centre public realm is the inconsistency. The work done in Graingertown has been second to none in terms of aesthetics, but then all good work is ruined by filling grand old Georgian streetscapes with bloody 'Everything's a Pound'.

The one major recent attempt at a new public square must be Thomas Heatherwick's Blue Carpet, which on reflection has become the dictionary definition of 'half-arsed'. The crumbling benches, the worn and defaced staircase, and to quote Mrs BL "its not even that blue!' What a wasted opportunity to use one of Britains most renowned public artists in front of one of the city's grandest buildings. (Although im sure his stock has fallen since 'B of the Bang' fell apart and sent razor sharp spikes plummeting towards the public....)
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Old September 22nd, 2009, 03:08 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnnypd View Post
The main 'square' imo is not a square at all and bisected by a busy bus route - it's the area around Monument which basically serves as the meeting point for Blackett st, Grey st and Grainger st as well as the nearby pilgrim st and northumberland st.
I thought there was talk of removing that bus route and pedestrianising it all; which in my opinion would be a really good decision. The buses would simply have to re-route around.
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Old September 22nd, 2009, 03:11 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigLebowski View Post
I think what annoys me most about the city centre public realm is the inconsistency. The work done in Graingertown has been second to none in terms of aesthetics, but then all good work is ruined by filling grand old Georgian streetscapes with bloody 'Everything's a Pound'.

The one major recent attempt at a new public square must be Thomas Heatherwick's Blue Carpet, which on reflection has become the dictionary definition of 'half-arsed'. The crumbling benches, the worn and defaced staircase, and to quote Mrs BL "its not even that blue!' What a wasted opportunity to use one of Britains most renowned public artists in front of one of the city's grandest buildings. (Although im sure his stock has fallen since 'B of the Bang' fell apart and sent razor sharp spikes plummeting towards the public....)
ouch. The blue carpet was a good idea, but jazzing up the pavement doesn't turn a windswept corner into a good public space by itself. and it has aged very, very badly. the last time I visited the Laing a few months back with people outside of town i was embarassed at what had become of it.
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Old September 22nd, 2009, 04:30 PM   #16
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Heatherwick's realisation of his artistic vision has left a lot to be desired in both Newcastle and Manchester and may well lead to his reputation being reassessed.

There are other recent examples which are not as formal but are potentially better urban spaces - Charlotte Square is in my view very good now, there are also the spaces at Times Square (not so good) and Waterloo Square (better) and also the area outside Tilleys.

Last edited by gregstone; December 22nd, 2009 at 02:34 PM.
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Old September 22nd, 2009, 04:54 PM   #17
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Charlotte Sq is nice, but is always a bit tatty due to some of the businesses surrounding it and people that hang out there. Same goes for the Bath Lane public space which seems to be only used by skateboarders and the homeless. TBH i think I would prefer bath lane to be opened to traffic again as i cant see the benefit of having it pedestrianised.

I don't really see waterloo square as a proper public space but rather an enclosure round the back of various buildings. more of an oversized courtyard that receives little footfall.
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Old September 22nd, 2009, 07:36 PM   #18
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Not strictly public since it's privately owned space, but I must say that the work Newcastle Uni have done outside the Students Union and in the old Quad, though not yet finished, are looking pretty good. The quality of the stone paving used is second to none and the resulting appearance is very smart indeed.
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Old September 22nd, 2009, 09:37 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UrbanDoctor View Post
Hi all, i have just been reading the thread Newcastle & Gateshead : Full Summary of projects and found it very interesting, although i did get a little lost reading the 5000+ posts. I was wondering if we could discuss the history of Newcastle & Gateshead’s public realm and possible areas of improvements. Maybe keeping the focus on;
  • The Grainger town project
  • The East Pilgrim Street Development
  • The Stephenson Quarter
  • The Old Newcastle Brewery Site
  • Poorly designed public areas
  • Ideas for location and design of public squares
  • Your ideal Newcastle

One thing i have noticed in my time in Newcastle is the lack of connected public squares. Especially when compared to cities such as Manchester and Birmingham. Although what i have seen in regards to the East Pilgrim Street Development looks promising.

Anyway, let the discussion begin!!
We are hopeing to get our own Sub-Forum soon, which would mean that, that problem will no longer be around.

Anyway, I'm guessing your new, so welcome.
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Old September 23rd, 2009, 12:26 PM   #20
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Thanks BigChris! Yeah i am new to this, and was surprised not to find a sub-forum. Glad to hear we may be getting one soon!!

Thanks also to everyone else, your discussion has been good and has identified some interesting points and consistant thoughts and opinions. Just working from the top down, do you think that Newcastle would benefit from one main large public square, or a collection of well connected small pedestrian squares?

As for Eldon Square, i think it does work ok as a public place, maybe its not the best in design, but its not too bad. Although i have to agree that the space would be greatly improved if bus route was redirected. This was one of the proposals by the East Pilgrim Street Development.

As for the blue carpet, i think everyones opinion is clear on that failure.

Anyway, keep the discussion up guys!!
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