Confirmed: Newcastle’s Green Market to close in January

Entrance to Green Market, Newcastle. Photograph by Graham Soult

Entrance to Green Market, Newcastle

Since I broke the story, in January, official confirmation of the closure of Newcastle’s Green Market at High Friars has been rather slow in coming. Even back then, I argued that “the lack of any coverage – or perhaps even awareness – of what appears to be the current Green Market’s impending closure is surprising.” 

As I wrote a couple of weeks ago, however, notices on Newcastle City Council letterheads, posted around the market, are now confirming that it will close on 31 January 2011, and the story has been picked up today by both BBC News and the Evening Chronicle

Though the market has only operated from its current site for the last three years, there has been, as the Chronicle notes, a Greenmarket in Newcastle for the past four centuries. While the current incarnation at High Friars may be a rather sad, mostly empty version compared to its predecessors, its demise will signal the end of one of Newcastle’s most long-established retail ‘brands’. 

Interestingly, the BBC article remarks that “the departure of the market will make way for a fashion retailer”, though it’s unclear from where this information has been sourced. However, it echoes my earlier observation of a new tenant being “secured” for the three-storey retail unit that will replace the Green Market, and does nothing to dispel the still-persistent rumours of Urban Outfitters being the retailer in question.

Expected entrance for new fashion store from Grainger Street. Photograph by Graham Soult

Expected entrance for new fashion store from Grainger Street

Spare a thought, however, for the few tenants that are still trading in the Green Market, and who now face the further upheaval – if they have the energy and inclination – of moving into the Grainger Market. 

When the current, 15-unit site was launched in 2007, following a £1m refurbishment, it was heralded as being “fresh”, “new” and “modern”, with “a prime location… right next to MK One and New Look”, but with every intention that a new, permanent Greenmarket would be built as part of the St Andrew’s Way extension. 

With those plans subsequently abandoned, and the ‘temporary’ Green Market too small and isolated to really take off – especially since New Look’s departure for the Eldon Square extension – the Green Market at High Friars was always likely to struggle as a longer-term enterprise.

Interestingly, the fact that the new ‘fashion retailer’ will be accessed from Grainger Street (with access from Eldon Square itself due to be blocked up) is only likely to compound the problems facing the shopping centre’s High Friars section. A mall leading only to the toilets, a branch of Internaçionale (in the former MK One unit) and the escalator down to Nelson Street is hardly going to draw the crowds.

Nelson Street, with the Green Market access on the left (17 Jun 2010). Photograph by Graham Soult

Nelson Street, with the Green Market access on the left (17 Jun 2010)

Securing a really strong anchor to reoccupy the large, two-storey former New Look unit will therefore be crucial. To encourage flow around that end of the shopping centre, it will be much better to have one retailer occupying both levels, preferably also with a reopened direct entrance on to Nelson Street, as was the case when the site housed WHSmith.

It may even be worth trying to carve out a larger unit from the old New Look, the current Internaçionale, and the mall in between, to create a sizable, modern unit that may appeal to a retailer such as Clas Ohlson – already represented in Capital Shopping Centres’ malls at Watford and Manchester – or Zara.

High Friars entrance to Eldon Square (22 Jan 2010). Photograph by Graham Soult

High Friars entrance to Eldon Square (22 Jan 2010)

Ultimately, however, full redevelopment of the Sidgate and High Friars end of Eldon Square – preferably including reinstatement of the historic link between Clayton Street and Old Eldon Square, and a livelier frontage to Blackett Street – may be the radical solution that’s needed.

12 Responses to “Confirmed: Newcastle’s Green Market to close in January”

  1. Soult's Retail View» Blog Archive » Clas Ohlson heads to CSC-owned centres in Cardiff and Norwich said:

    Aug 27, 10 at 11:19

    [...] Centres. With CSC also owning Watford’s Harlequin and Manchester’s Arndale (as I noted here), it will mean that four of Clas Ohlson’s ten UK stores are in CSC [...]

  2. Alex said:

    Apr 12, 11 at 13:51

    Essential to find major retailer to locate in the Mad House site . This mall is suffering badly and seems only to attract charity operations and short term special lets .

  3. Graham Soult said:

    Apr 12, 11 at 14:00

    Couldn’t agree more Alex! And that’s obviously been pushed back too, as the Green Market was still there and (barely) trading when I last went by a couple of weeks ago.

    I think redevelopment of that entire end of Eldon Square may be the best option, perhaps creating large, full-length units with access from both Blackett Street and Nelson Street. The whole section is too skinny for an enclosed mall to be a very effective use of space.

  4. Alex said:

    Apr 28, 11 at 11:02

    Green market now closed . Urban outfitters seem to be taking this site , but closing off from Eldon square mall . Any news on the new retailer for the mad house site ?

  5. Soult's Retail View » Next, BHS, Primark, Clas Ohlson – photo updates of Newcastle’s new retail developments said:

    May 10, 11 at 23:54

    [...] walked by, I also noticed workmen – and rubble – in the space recently vacated by the Green Market, soon to be occupied by Urban Outfitters. Newcastle city centre is certainly going to have a busy [...]

  6. Alex said:

    Jun 07, 11 at 10:43

    Had a walk down high friars and sidgate and noticed closing down posters on warren james , rebel rebel and west coast . I hear others are moving too.

  7. Graham Soult said:

    Jun 07, 11 at 10:45

    Interesting! I wonder whether several closing down at once is coincidence, or if something bigger is in the offing.

  8. Alex said:

    Jul 04, 11 at 15:54

    Any news on a new store in the madhouse location , or any news on a redevelopment of highfriars/sidgate.

  9. Graham Soult said:

    Jul 04, 11 at 15:55

    Not that I’m aware of!

  10. Alex said:

    Aug 10, 11 at 10:49

    I keep hearing talk of a major retailer moving in to the mad house unit . Latest is they are close to a deal . Have you heard anything .

  11. Graham Soult said:

    Aug 10, 11 at 10:52

    Only what you’ve told me, I’m afraid! :)

  12. Alex said:

    Aug 10, 11 at 10:55

    Ok thanks

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