Newcastle’s Blackett Street may close to traffic this festive season, with the city set to enjoy a ‘bumper’ Christmas market. And the council are looking at ways to make the street into a permanent pedestrian zone.
The ‘bumper’ Christmas market will be a festive extravaganza that will combine Newcastle’s usual International Christmas Market with another seasonal market focusing on local traders.
The market will be held around Grey’s Monument, kicking off on November 16th and running until December 16th.
Blackett Street was pedestrianised for ten weekends in the summer so that it could host a number of events as part of the Great Exhibition of the North. As this policy seemed popular with city centre visitors, the council are hoping for a repeat of this success during the festive period.
It is not known for exactly how long Blackett Street might close or what stalls or events the pedestrianised space might be used for.
Newcastle City Council’s long-term goal is to permanently pedestrianise Blackett Street. The council would, however, have to work with the bus companies to establish alternative routes to the busy thoroughfare.
Bus company stagecoach have been somewhat sceptical about the council’s proposals because of the disruption to bus services that closing the street – which links Pilgrim Street and Percy Street – would cause.
The council also hope that closing Blackett Street would improve air quality in Newcastle City Centre. By the end of 2018, Newcastle City Council will have to submit proposals to the government about how it will tackle levels of air pollution, which are high in some areas of the city.
The leader of Newcastle City Council, Cllr Nick Forbes, said, “I am really concerned that poor air quality is killing people in our city. We have figures to show that 360 lives are cut short every year due to poor air quality.”
Blackett Street will definitely close to traffic for Newcastle’s popular Christmas Lights Switch On event on Thursday, 8th November.
(Featured image courtesy of Ray Forster, from Flcikr Creative Commons.)