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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...
 

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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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I agree entirely.

BUT (and we are perhaps one of the best 'groups of people' available to comment on this, because of our interest in the subject) what can Newcastle City Council NOW do about this . . ?

Perhaps if we put our heads together, and if we ALL sort of 'brainstorm it' . . . we might come up with something we can put to the City Council, as a possible idea for the way forward.
Let's make a list of the ISSUES we identify in this discussion, then we can 'accumulate' them (the issues) and ultimately then consider SOLUTIONS to,

(a) each of the individual issues, and
(b) the overal Graingertown problem.

OK?

So far then, we have identified . . .

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

2 - If to continue as 'retail', can we set-up 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, because TJ Hughes IS there, we cannot change that.

3 - If so, what do we then do with Grainger Street from TJ Hughes to Central Station, and the beautiful 'short' offshoot streets such as Nun Street?

4 - Or, should "Monument to TJ Hughes" specialise in something else? If so . . what?

That is my summation of issues so far (1 to 4) now WHAT ELSE can we think of??
OK then, here it is on Sunday morning, and yesterday we identified a total of "13 ISSUES"

They were . . .

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

2 - If to continue as 'retail', can we set-up 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, because TJ Hughes IS there, we cannot change that.

3 - If so, what do we then do with Grainger Street from TJ Hughes to Central Station, and the beautiful 'short' offshoot streets such as Nun Street?

4 - Or, should "Monument to TJ Hughes" specialise in something else? If so . . what?

5 - Get rid of TJ Hughes. (I am not sure if that is a practicable suggestion, albeit desirable)

6 - There appears scope for more (perhaps new to the City Centre) restaurants (though we should keep that idea for when we get to considering solutions really . . . ) in this area. NB - Do you mean "Monument to TJ Hughes" or "TJ Hughes to Central and offshoots" or "both" ??

7 - Leave the 'Clayton Street' area of Graingertown as is. It is happily finding it's niche with the "cheaper shops"

8 - Graingertown is the only space for high-end (new) retail, but does this mean the area from "Monument to TJ Hughes only" or does it include "all the way down to Central" ?

9 - The impact of the new re-development of the Newgate Shopping Centre is unknown.

10 - Graingertown is not suitable for 'High End' retail. (It does not matter at this stage, that one issue 'contradicts' another).

11 - EPS (or 'part' of EPS) is more suitable for that high end retail.

12 - The Odeon or Fire Station could house an anchor store (this is almost a "proposed solution", mind!!)

13 - Hood Street could be pedestrianised ("Ditto"!!)

So, those are the 13 . . and all I have done is "copy and paste" them from yesterdays various posts. Now, what we need to do is to try and come up with 'solutions' or at least 'what the City Council could consider about' EACH ONE OF THE ISSUES . . .

So, if you all agree the idea (and this proposed method of doing so) of trying to structure our thoughts prior to passing them on to the City Council? I will list the ISSUES one-by-one, and we can now (I know it hurts!) "brainstorm" S O L U T I O N S . . .

See Next Post . .
 

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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?
 

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Discussion Starter · #166 ·
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?
Theyve tried NH, with the ill-fated PNE...it didnt work because those involved had no idea about the absolute basics of planning and retail management. I'll give you an example, i was personally involved in the business plan and investment of a pavement cafe, to be situated in Graingertown in (approx) 1999/2000. The genius at PNE charged with finding us a property obtained a 1st floor premise on High Bridge and wouldnt negotiate (on the funding). Thats a PAVEMENT cafe on the FIRST floor. Their reckoning was that the upper floors were filled, with whatever - they had no quality filter or overall plan at all - and the ground floor would fill with national chains. Like for example, oh totally at random, Coast, Jigsaw Menswear, Karen Millen, Shellys, Kookai, Whittards and Nokia. Well done guys, that really worked a treat...

If i was being pragmatic rather than idealistic, i would suggest student housing for the lot because quite frankly, everything else failed. The imbeciles in charge in the 90s were given this gift of an opportunity, beautiful buildings, pots of funding, public and private support....and they pissed it right up the wall with a litany of wrong decisions. And as Graingertown empties and starts to fall apart, we should never let them off the hook.
 

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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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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?
OK, we have FOUR possible answers to the above, so far . .

1 (a) - Positive encouragement (contact, I assume, with Universities and those developers that build student accommodation) to the development of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd floors (as applicable) in Graingertown, as STUDENT ACCOMMODATION.

1 (b) - The LOTS ('Living Above the Shops') scheme to be re-commenced, this time with an emphasis (as in 1(a) above) on STUDENTS, including direct liaison (perhaps a 'joint team') with the three main Newcastle Educational establishments (plus perhaps Gateshead and N Tyne Metro colleges).

1 (c) - 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 one side of Old Eldon Square.

1 (d) - Encourage (rate reliefs etc?) particular types of business into Graingertown, such as 'budget hostels', along the lines of Albatross - Backpackers In, making good use of upper floors without sterilising street frontage. (NB, I can see this could 'link in' with the student accommodation idea, in a way)

NB - for points 1(a) to 1(d) due cognisance to be taken of DDA compliance, and particularly in relation to 'listed' buildings.



Ok then, I will wait a little longer (say, until 13.00 hrs) before suggesting we move onto the next issue?
 

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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?
 

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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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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.
Totally agree with this, diversification is key to success!
 

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Wilf's right if you ask me.

The question is, how do you attract high-end cafes, galleries, shops etc instead of the low-grade ones? You can't simply do it through planning - if you create a policy that allows food outlets etc in an area there's nothing to stop a "Munchies" popping up where you were expecting a "Cafe Royal".

I know that putting anchor stores into areas is one solution and it can really work. Shoppers don't like having to walk from one part of the centre to another to go to the shops they like, they like them to be clustered. If they're clustered with food outlets, bars, services etc that they also like, all the better. However the question remains, how do you persuade people looking for high-end retail that they want to do this kind of shopping on Grainger and Grey St?

My view, for what it's worth, is that you'll 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, as is 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.

Look at the streets that the likes of Vivienne Westwood have placed themselves on. Next to a theatre, beautiful architecture, very little traffic and very few people on the street to barge past you.
 

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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.

On the high-end retail front, don't know what NCC can do as it could only really have been done when the Grainger Project was finishing. I also don't think that theres anything that will done with T J Hughes, dont know if they own the building but i guess if they pay the rent then the owner wont really be bothered.
 

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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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Yeah that is sligtly problematic as A5 is Hot Food Takeaways for cosumption off the premises but i don't think any planning officer would ever class them as being in the same use class, may be wrong there but i would never approve and i'm sure i could justify it, usually noise at takeaways is louder, litter is more problematic and smells can be an issue.
 

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It's a more central location in terms of retail for All Saints though, I would imagine they would get more customers being located with ES the they would on a half empty St.
I'm pretty sure they are Newcastle based as my friend used to knock about with the owner... I think he owns Hyena Cafe too... However dont quote me as I may have dreamed this?!:nuts:
 
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