Major Newcastle city centre boost as Fenwick and Northumberland St revamp backed

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Fenwick bid to revamp Newcastle shopfront approved as part of major Northumberland Street overhaul.

Plans to give Fenwick’s flagship Newcastle store a facelift have been backed by city decision-makers.

The major retailer unveiled proposals earlier this year to radically overhaul its famous Northumberland Street frontage, which houses the iconic Fenwick Christmas window display.

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That redesign, part of a £40m investment programme announced in 2022 to celebrate the chain’s 140th anniversary, has now been approved by Newcastle City Council.

It will see the main entrance to the city centre store relocated to a new access point in the middle of a redeveloped Northumberland Street façade, rather than at the corners of the shopfront.

There have already been further renovations inside the store, including the opening of the Mother Mercy cocktail bar and works to improve the beauty hall.

How Fenwick will look if plans are approved.How Fenwick will look if plans are approved.
How Fenwick will look if plans are approved. | Studio Birch

The granting of planning permission for the scheme comes as the city council prepares for its own regeneration of Northumberland Street.

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Work is due to begin shortly on a major transformation programme, paid for using a Levelling Up Fund grant, that will see new lighting pillars, paving, seating, and plants installed along the length of the high street.

A council planners’ report states that the proposed redevelopment of the Fenwick’s shopfront is based on some of the site’s original features dating back to the 1880s and will reinstate elements that have been lost since.

It adds: “The additional entrances in the middle of the frontage were lost a number of years ago and will allow multiple points of entry and better engagement with the public at ground level. The displays will also be open and provide views both into and out of the shop allowing passers by the opportunity to engage with the store. 

“The new canopy will provide a more permanent structure to the front of the building again reinstating an original feature.”

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The florist currently based at the northern end of Fenwick’s Northumberland Street frontage will be relocated to a new unit  on the corner of Northumberland Street and Brunswick Place.

Fenwick’s planning application said that the redesign should “enhance the experience of Christmas window displays” and that the windows’ visibility to younger children had been “carefully considered” when drawing up the designs.

Kieran McBride, Newcastle store director, said: “Our Newcastle store has played an iconic role within the city centre since 1882, and this programme is all about continuing to play that role and more into the future. This new frontage will ensure everyone can receive a warm welcome into our store and maintain our position as the destination of choice for shoppers across the region. We are grateful for the partnership of Newcastle City Council as we invest together in ensuring Northumberland Street and the wider city centre remain a thriving central hub for locals and visitors alike.”

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