Leading Newcastle businesses, educational and cultural organisations have joined forces to establish a powerful business association in the centre of the city.
The Forth Street Business Association is being driven by Clouston Group, the visionary developer of the £200m Stephenson Quarter adjacent to Newcastle Central rail station.
David Clouston, managing director of Clouston Group, which owns the luxury Crowne Plaza Hotel, has pulled together a strong group of like-minded leaders who want to promote improvements and change around this part of the city.
Companies and organisations initially committed include commercial property consultants Cushman & Wakefield; customer care specialists Convergys, currently creating 600 new jobs on Stephenson Quarter; Crowne Plaza Newcastle; the Boiler Shop; the North of England Inistitute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers; and the management behind the proposed North East Futures University Technical College in Newcastle; along with accountancy and business management consultants PwC.
The Business Association will follow the successful models that have been established by Clouston Group elsewhere in the region, at Silverlink Business Park, North Tyneside, and Trinity Gardens on Newcastle’s Quayside.
The overall concept is to improve the general environment for anyone visiting or working around the Forth Street, Forth Banks and lower Westgate Road area.
David Clouston explained: “There is a powerful group of businesses and organisations operating within this part of Newcastle city centre. By working together the association can become a strong local voice that raises important issues to promote mutual interests and drive environmental improvements for the benefit of the wider community.”
There are three primary objectives, he said:
- Promote the reputation and perspective of local businesses and organisations
- Care for the environment, while ensuring a safer place in which to work and pass through
- Look after employees, clients and the general public visiting this area.
Several initial meetings have already been held to both mobilise membership and agree on an overall strategy and plan of immediate action. The three tunnels passing between Forth Street and Westgate Road are seen as a priority agenda item for improvements.
Mr Clouston added: “The Stephenson Quarter site alone can create up to 4,000 jobs by the time it is completed. But investors and employers will be influenced by the quality of the local environment. This also has an impact on existing employers in the area of Forth Street. Environmental improvements will improve things for the whole community and the wider city.”
Alison Shaw, education director of the new UTC, said: “A safe, attractive environment is important for teaching staff and young students. We are creating a world class learning environment at Stephenson Quarter and it’s important the surrounding area reflects the ambitions we have for the city.
“By working in partnership and through consensus I’m sure this business association will be able to bring people together to drive through wider environmental improvements.”
This initiative is also endorsed by Peter Stark, development director of the Mining Institute which recently successfully secured Heritage Lottery Funding to undertake a £600,000 restoration of the spectacular grade II listed Neville Hall, on Westgate Road.
The Business Association will work closely with the business improvement district company NE1 as well as Newcastle City Council and Northumbria Police.