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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.
 

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Yeah, I agree with that statement. Although KFC isn't really something I would be botherd about if it moved out of Newcastle altogether, the same generally applies to McDonalds and Burger King.QUOTE]

Ah, but there is a certain something about a McDonald's breakfast if you have to be out and about early (early in my book being pre-10.30). Sausage & egg muffin mean and an extra hash mmmm...

Fried chicken junkies should note that the new place on Darn Crook (where Salaam Bombay used to be) - King Chicken? - is very good imo and also supplies the food on china plates, with proper metal cutlery. There's posh for you!
 

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Was pleasantly impressed with Liverpool One when I visited for the first time yesterday; it is large and on the whole reasonably well designed, with a good range of shops, although maybe 25% remained to be let.
That's all very well, but what about the alienation of the public realm? Do we want a city for everyone, a city for its citizens, or just for the potential consumers who are all that the new 'owners' of Liverpool One are interested in (and they get their private security guards to move out aanyone who doesn't fit their desired profile)?
 

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It's an interesting debate - would you rather have "nice" well maintained public realm and attractive facilities without winos, scallies and beggars hassling you the whole time but some negative implications in terms of social inclusion and civil liberties, or one which is free for anyone to use but is vandalised to buggery and infested with swarms of smackheads and yobs?
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.
 

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I wasn't advocating, I was just noting that there is another perspective on this and that a lot of people would prefer the cleaner, safer urban environment. The covered spaces of Eldon Square have different "rules" to the street outside. There is ultimately a difference between genuinely public spaces and streets and what is in effect private property.

In terms of "properly policed", I note Newcastle now has the BID-funded NE1 street wardens who are visible and not over-zealous, but who will politely move people on (or call in the police) if they are causing a public nuisance in public areas. Is this inappropriate?
But Liverpool One has effectively turned the streets it controls into outdoor versions of Eldon Square. This surrender of the public to the private by Liverpool City Council is a deeply worrying development and one which should be resisted. As for the street wardens: what are their powers, what are their instructions, who gives those instructions, who defines 'public nuisance'? Are they, for example, going to stop people taking photographs for supposed 'reasons of security', or demanding licences/notices of permission as increasingly the case in these areas of privatised realm? It seems that a whole new area of 'democratic deficit' is being created in the heart of our cities, and this is a development that should be resisted to the utmost.
 

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Those spaces have got to be around the monument- its seems every charver and their dog sits around it and around the entrance of eldon square by there.
But it's their city as much as mine: if they're not causing trouble they've every right to be there, and the same applies to me. This reminds me of a kerfuffle a few years ago when some of the more precious business owners in Old Eldon Square were complaining about the presence of the Goths driving away their customers by creating a 'threatening' environment. The bunny rabbits at the Civic Centre are more threatening.

A nice idea to get rid of the blank walls facing Blackett Street - though I do like the black glass Monument entrance to ES.
 

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Just a thought, but if the council does fully pedestrianise Blackett St/New Bridge Street/upper Pilgrim Street, the necessary transfer of bus routes to the Newgate/Grainger/Market Street axis, and, even more so, if some services could be routed via Westgate Road/Grainger/Market Street, would bring greater footfall to the lower Grainger Street area and perhaps help to stimulate local businesses there.
 

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i don't really go down Clayton but from what i gather it is your cheap shops- which is fine- we need cheaper shops somewhere- and although a niceish street it certainly aint Grey Street- so leave it as it is. I just couldnt face £ stretcher opening up on the former Kookai shop of soemthing and that is what I think might happen.
Clayton Street actually has quite a bit going for it - a number of small local businesses such as the Scrumpy Willow cafe and the like - it's a shame they, and places like Richer Sounds, weren't on Grainger St.

Possibly some of the E European businesses to be made homeless by the demolition of the Newgate Centre could be encouraged to Grainger Street to form a little Eastern quarter.
 

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It should also already get the 'footfall' from the Central, so would that sort of footfall ("on the way TO somewhere else") necessarily help much?
What numbers come to Newcastle by train to shop, what numbers by bus? And of those travellers who arrive by train, how many walk up Grainger Street towards Monument, and how many go straight to the Metro, buses, taxis? An awful lot in the latter categories, I would hazard. Making lower Grainger Street much more of a bus 'centre' than it is at present would draw shoppers down that way. Look at the crowds at the stops on Blackett and Pilgrim Streets at the moment!
 

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The first issue is:

ISSUE

1 - We need to bring 'whole buildings' (IE, shop ground floor level AND the upper floors) into use in Graingertown.

QUESTION

1 - What "solution" or "what could the City Council consider doing", regarding this single issue?
I recall that during the 'high days' of the Graingertown initiative there was an allied scheme called 'LOTS' - Living Over The Shop' - which brought quite a few of the upper storey premises into occupation as flats, student and otherwise. I'd suggest that this should be reinvigorated or recommenced in collaboration with the universities.

Another possibility would be to encourage the provision of small, cheap office/retail/non-offensive workshop space for start-up businesses (along the same lines as the old buildings on Old Eldon Square).

There may also be room for another budget hostel along the lines of 'Albatross - Backpackers In', making good use of upper floors without sterilising street frontage.
 

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Grainger Street footfall is generally high- but it more people going to somewhere that is not shopping and therefore the income of the stores along there are probably low. High end retailers make their money by people who are in that street specifically walking along that street specifically for shopping- they would then maybe just pop in and fall in love with a lovely top and spend far too much for it. People walking to central station probably wouldnt just pop in and have a look around. The bottom end near the station are also more specialised store such as comic or guitar or big and tall shops- those going there wouldnt be likely to pop in and have a look at the lovely Jummy Choo shoes up by the monumnet would they?
I agree entirely with that - but my suggestion that revuising bus routes would increase footfall and so stimulate business wasn't intended to suggest that lower Grainger Street might then be a 'premium', Jimmy Choo-ish area - apologies if I presented this in a misleading way. Rather, it would enciourage thriving medium-low range business rather than charity shops/ empty shops. For example, I think that the lower end wuld be an excellent location for another 'Mero' style supermarket, which might do very good business from homeward-bound workers.
 

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What are the rules on DDA compliance relating to listed buildings? This could be a big stumbling block in relation to buildings in Grainger Town.
 

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The SECOND issue is:

ISSUE

2 - If use of Graingertown premises is to continue as 'retail' (is it?) is it possible to have and sustain 'high end' (fashion etc) retail in between Monument and part-way-down Grainger Street at the point that we meet up with TJ Hughes? How can that be achieved? (We need to accept that TJ Hughes IS there, we cannot change that).

QUESTION

2 - What "solution" or "what could the City Council consider doing", regarding this single issue?
I believe that retail ought to remain the mainstay of Grainger Town and that 'high end' should predominate in the areas closer to Monument. However, 'high end retail' in the sense of fashion can and should be supported by a mix of complementary uses - for example, other forms of high-end retail, and selective conversion to food uses. Fitzgeralds' Cafe Royal is an excellent example of the sort of catering outlet that sits very well indeed in Graingertown, and, in juxtaposition with posh frock shops would appeal to 'ladies that lunch'. A high-class delicatessen, a posh kitchenmware shop, an expensive hi-fi shop, 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.
 

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You've raised two very important points. I don't know what the solution is to the 'Cafe Royal or Munchies' dilemma is, unless the council either can expand its ownership of sites in the area and so control who moves in, or comes to an agreement with letting policy with the owners. As for the traffic - that is likely to worsen if Blackett Street is pedestrianised and E-W buses are forced round Grainger/Market Streets. That is inevitable. And there one possible solution, of sorts, would be to 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.

As you say, maybe the side roads are the way forward: Hood, Shakespeare, and, at a greater stretch, Nelson, Nun.

Incidentally, I saw a big traditional sweetie stall in Bigg Market yesterday or the day before. If this is a green shoot of life in the BM as a real market, more power to it.
 

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I don't really think theres much that the council can do really. The 'use-class order', 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.
I don't know - my impression is that Munchies - at least the St Mary's Place one - is as much sit in as take out. Whenever I've been there I've sat down to munch kebab & chips.
 

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The THIRD 'ISSUE' ( that we identified) is:

ISSUE

3 - What do we then do with Grainger Street from TJ Hughes to Central Station, and any of the beautiful 'short' offshoot streets that fall within that stretch?

QUESTION

3 - What "solution" or "what could the City Council consider doing", regarding this single issue?
I may have mentioned this upthread too, but I think that the lower part of Grainger Street could be a good location for a 'Metro' style supermarket. Central Newcastle still hasn't many such outlets: Sainsbury (Gallowgate) & Co-op to serve the west side, Waitrose for those heading north, and a Tesco Metro down by the Quayside. Grainger Street would serve those going towards the station or getting a bus there, as well as local LOTS residents (who we would wish to see increase in number). And the sort of stuff that would sell best - booze and ready meals - probably wouldn't harm the Grainger Market traders.
 

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subway have just agreed to take half of the millets store so now we will have subway at the top (ridley), middle (grainger st) and lower (grey st) points of town.
Oh hell, there goes the neighbourhood. Classy caffs for ladies who lunch? No, we get a Subway...

And what will it be like in the middle of the road where the honk from Subway begins to mingle with the sickly pong emanating from Lush?
 

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Better than having nothing there? Surely?... maybe?
Well... perhaps, and I take heart that the whole pyramid of Subways will implode pretty soon anyway - don't forget there are also branches on Gallowgate and Percy Street. If I were one of the earlier franchise holders I'd be pretty pissed off that Subway then sell another franchise for a place 200m down the road.

But the smells, TPNE, the godawful pong of those places!
 
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