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I should really like a Borders Books to counteract the Waterstones-Blackwell duopoly but I doubt it would ever happen - they seem to prefer big-shed out-of-town shops, and if they can't make Oxford Street pay they're not going to open here.

Sad too to see Steedman's gone: now the only second hand bookshops are charity shops.
the bookstores in newcastle are absolutely horrific. i buy books all the time but havent bought one in town for probably 7 or 8 years. the selection is terrible, corporate, bland and mainstream. what we really need is a proper independent bookshop, not a second-hand charity shop, but the kind of place where the staff personally choose the books and keep up with lastest the literary movements from around the globe.
 

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I don't want 'public' realm where only consumers or potential consumers are welcomed; I don't want to be 'policed' by private security guards hired by private companies who are not accountable to democratic scrutiny. I don't want 'nice' plasticised Stepford urban settings and especially not at the price of individual liberty. The alternative to Liverpool One is not one that is full of "winos, scallies and beggars hassling you the whole time ... vandalised to buggery and infested with swarms of smackheads and yobs"; it is a city - a polis - open to all and decently policed. It is a city where the lounger and the tramp can pass through as much as the shopper or business-person, where teenagers aren't segregated, marginalised and desocialised. A city is, or should be, the summation of modern civilisation, not a machine to enable the rich to treat the rest of us as milch cows and to exclude those who won't or can't play along.
well said, mate. I actually feel privitised, inward focused spaces exacerbate social problems anyway as they push certain groups to the margins rather than mix everyone in together.
 

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Ha ha! Thats rich coming from A. a Lib Dem (all about inclusion!) and B. Someone running for Newcastle East! Greg if you don't want to alienate half of your constituency, you might want to rethink your opinions of some sectors of society! These people have problems greg, you can't just EXCLUDE them and hope they go away.

I am truly shocked :eek:hno::eek:hno::eek:hno::eek:hno:
i think greg was playing devil's advocate a bit there.
 

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Been away in Ireland for a few days so \aint been able to post, was visiting family but had to pass through Belfast city centre on way to airport, I have to say I was pretty impressed witht the little I saw. Looks like a lot of money is/has been spent there. There were some beautiful old buildings with some great independant stores. We had a coffee and bight to eat in a lovely shop selling high end homeware, think it was called equinox? myself and my wife both commented upon how there is a lack of small independant stores like that in Newcastle city centre, I feel places like this really add to a city centres retail offerings rather than the usual fodder. I think EPS would be an ideal opportunity for places liket his to be placed offering something a little different.
yes the lack of independent shops in Newcastle is very striking compared to many other UK centres. I think it is slightly tied in with our low rates of entrepreneurship - most people on tyneside would never consider starting their own business, sadly.
 

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now that woolsworths is gone TJ Hughes could be 'encouraged' to move into the empty premises on clayton street. i agree clayton st is fine as it is, though one problem is the Grainger Market - don't get me wrong i love it but it is a downmarket destination and a problem when it comes to attracting higher end retailers around that part of town. in an ideal world it could have lots of independent cool stalls inside it like the various london markets - exmouth, broadway, borough and so on.
 

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I agree that it probably doesn't help Grainger St become a high-end retail location, but we really shouldn't gentrify the Grainger Market for any reason. It's a vibrant and historical market and it caters for a lot of sections of society that can't really shop elsewhere. It would be perfect for the use you mention, but I personally couldn't bear to see it killed off like that.

I do however think that we need an area in the city that is focused towards providing space for the sort of independent little shops and designers that you seem to suggest. And I still think that East Pilgrim St would be the perfect place, but it just doesn't look like happening now...
i don't recommend killing it off, but i see no reason why it couldn't accomodate a few 'different' stalls amongst the low-end retail it currently houses. the good thing about the market is that (i'd guess) the rents are cheap and people could start up new businesses relativley easily. maybe we should have a separate area for this, but the interesting thing about the London markets is that they only operate for a couple of days a week, so people who would otherwise not commit to a full time business, ie coffee or burrito stands, can 'test the water' when it comes to establishing a new product.
 

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OK, this second 'issue' was a slightly more complex one to answer, but we have come up with a number of answers and suggestions . . .

2 (a) - City Council Policy should be developed to establish and maintain 'high end retail' in the Monument to TJ Hughes, area of Graingertown (not just on Grainger Street) but inorder to make it self-sustaining (economically viable) there needs to be a 'mix' of types. EG, Fitzgeralds' Cafe Royal is an excellent example of the sort of catering outlet that sits very well in this type of Graingertown, and, in juxtaposition with posh frock shops would appeal to 'ladies that lunch'. A high-class delicatessen, a posh kitchenware shop, an expensive hi-fi shop, a private art gallery between the clothes shops to create a sort of Bond Street effect. In fact, what we'd be looking at is Acorn Road on steroids.

2 (b) - As indicated above . . DIVERSIFICATION (of a consistent 'high-end' type) is the key for the Monument to TJ Hughes area.

2 (c) - A suitable "Anchor store" should be positively sought, for this discrete area. This can really work. Shoppers don't like having to walk from one part of the 'shopping patch' to another, to go to the shops they like, they like them to be clustered. If they're clustered (also) with food outlets, bars, services etc that they also like, all the better. So . . . an "Anchor Store" and a "Cluster of related Stores".

2 (d) - But, how is this to be achieved? Selected pedestrianisation (separation of quality shopping locations from vehicle fumes) appears essential. You will struggle to get people with a lot of money to spend on expensive clothes and goods, to do so somewhere where there is traffic, particularly traffic often at a stand-still and belching out pollution and noise. Sadly, this IS currently the case on a lot of Grainger St. People want to be able to walk slowly, with plenty of personal space, and chat to the people they're shopping with. Not be jostled and hurried by the large number of charvers you tend to find on the traffic-filled section of Grainger St, particularly because of the number of bus stops on it. This indicates that it is really only the "Monument to TJ Hughes" stretch, that could be made to fit the bill here, along with Nun Street and Nelson Street and Shakespeare Street and Hood Street and part of Market Street, perhaps, though the issue of the 'Grainger Market' (vans re-loading etc) is a concern. Look at the Vivienne Westwoodshop, it is next to a theatre, in one of the mentioned little streets of beautiful architecture, with very little traffic and less "people on the street getting buses etc" to barge past you.

2 (e) - Ban all but the most modern low-emission buses from the centre (forcing Stagecoach to get rid of its clapped-out, fume-belching behemoths) and perhaps ban cars from that stretch altogether.

2 (f) - Perhaps the City Council could control the type of 'food outlet' in the high-end mix in that area (using the threat of the appearence of a 'Munchies-type' food place next to (say) a Vivienne Westwood) by the use of a 'use-class order', which would control food/drink outlets (A3 - Restaurants and cafés) as Munchies would be a different class (A5 - Hot Food Takeaways) and would therefore require planning consent to change (unless the % of sit-down to take-away, prevents this distinction?)

Well . . quite a bit, hope I've summarised our proposed solutions/actions correctly. Off on to ISSUE THREE now . . .
some good points raised there. I think a good location for an anchor store would be monument mall, it is big enough to be a dept store if converted and is in a superb location. Alternatively a dept store could also work on the Odeon block.

The thing about pedestrianising streets is that it puts pressure on the remaining roads. So if you pave over one street you have to make sure the remaining roads are wide enough to cope with the extra traffic. there needs to be a coherent strategy. Unfortunately this doesn't appear to be the case in Newcastle - newgate street should be a major thoroughfare but atm it is looking very narrow - and not only that but in the past few years two junctions have been shut off at Low Friars and St Andrews St. This is putting extra pressure on Gallowgate which gets compltely backed up at rush hour. I think everyone here wants to see Blackett street pedestrianised, but where will the traffic go, and, if we remove the bus-stops we're reducing the amount of people in that area of town.

One issue I see is that footfall often correlates to the best transport options - ample carparking, metro stations and bus concourses. Atm I think there's too much emphasis on Haymarket and ES and Percy, Barras Bridge and Gallowgate are suffering an excess of traffic. an EPS site, if it ever got underway, should be forced to accomodate a bus station round the back to relieve pressure on streets AND to deliver more pedestrians to this part of town. In the olden days, when Marlborough Bus Station was around, Clayton Street was far more vibrant because people would have to get off and walk through this way, meaning huge footfall. Now that extreme end of town is quiet during the day. So one major question for me is where do we place a new bus concourse so that A/ we can reduce fumes/traffic from blackett, market, grainger streets but B/ make sure people are getting dropped off in the centre of town?

On top of this I have noticed how many people park at Gallowgate surface parking - which will end up going when Strawberry Place goes up. Maybe a new multi-storey could be built on the science city site? And of course, extending the Metro to the west end would be nice, would get more people into Monument/St James and would relieve pressure on the bus stations.
 

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regarding an EPS anchor store - the council could ensure that this has frontage onto pilgrim street which will surely bring more footfall to the pilgrim street part (and associated side streets such as shakespeare st) of grainger town. There could be an element of pedestrianisation to guarantee that this happens but that is a complex issue which would need to see the circulation of the entire city centre revised. Another long term aim could be to develop a bus concourse somewhere on the EPS site for buses from the east (or even south coming over the bridges), to reduce traffic pressure on places like Blackett Street (making it nicer for pedestrians) and also ensuring that this end of town gets high footfall. Worswick st used to have a bus station so there is precedent.
 

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i believe that is standard practice on part of the big american chains - you open a load of new stores in one area to drive existing businesses out of operation/prevent new competitors opening up.

doesn't help that subway is perhaps my least favourite 'shop' on the planet. yuck.
 

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this gives you a good idea of the kind of clothes they stock:

http://www.urbanoutfitters.com/urba...PAREL&itemCount=10&prepushId=&id=MENS_APPAREL

tbh i have a suspicion that, in the US at least, they pick up the crappier clothes from more stylish brands, all their diesel stuff is crap compared to what diesel have in their own stores. though it is hugely popular so having it in town will be a big draw for young people from all over the region, and the kind of shop we need to consistently draw people in from berwick to middlesbrough to carlisle. atm you wouldnt come here if you could go to leeds to edinburgh instead.
 

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some shops probably use upper floors as storage space, especially where the ground floor floorplates are small. there is a lot of unlocked potential there though i do remember quite a few new flats being converted during the grainger town project- for instance the central exchange buildings.

according to the project's website over 500 new flats were created in the area - sure a few were new build though. some examples listed here - http://www.newcastle.gov.uk/grainger.nsf/a/property?opendocument
 

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Good to hear the plans for Peacocks and Urban Outfitters to open, both will add to the city in my opinion. The return of Habitat would also be extremely good.

I think the problem will be that we have a lot of small units along Grainger Street and dotted around the place, they can't all be Subway. Yet it's only the major brands with big stores looking to open at the minute.
i wonder if there is any way the council can encourage separate stores to merge and create larger premises. monument mall in particular seems like a good place to attempt this.
 
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