September 16, 2016 @ 9:52 by Alison Cowie
Newcastle has been presented with the prestigious BID Award by the Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry, DIHK – making it the first city outside of Germany to win the accolade.
NE1 Ltd, the Business Improvement District company for Newcastle City Centre, has won the award for its Alive after Five initiative, which has attracted 9.7 million additional visitors in to the city and contributed an estimated £591 million to the North East economy since its launch in October 2010.
The award was announced and presented at the European BID Congress, the 8th annual conference, organised by the German Chamber of Industry and Commerce, this year held in Wuppertal, Germany on September 14-15.
Sean Bullick, chief executive of NE1 Ltd, was on hand to collect the prize alongside Nick Forbes, Leader of Newcastle City Council and Adam Serfontein, the chairman of NE1 Ltd and managing director of property group, Hanro.
Alive after Five has had a transformational effect on Newcastle city centre linking the city’s day and night time economies and encouraging new business and visitors into the city centre. The judging panel consisting of BID experts from the German Chambers of Commerce and Industry, as well as from the DIHK, recognised the contribution Alive after Five has made to the city and the collaborative approach from NE1, the City Council and local businesses when awarding the prize. Previous award recipients have included prestigious locations such as BID Nikolaiquartier in Hamburg, the location of Germany’s largest BID.
The Association of Chambers of Industry and Commerce in Germany organise the annual Congress and awards to encourage entrepreneurs and business owners to play a greater part in improving inner city prosperity in countries across Europe. The event has been held since 2008.
NE1 was awarded the prize this year for its continuing efforts to champion business issues and development in Newcastle and in recognition of the success of Alive after Five, which is still unique in the UK.
Alive after Five has boosted visitor numbers with 9.7 million additional visitors after 5pm in the city centre and a 2.2 per cent year on year footfall increase in 2015, outperforming the national average by 4.2 per cent.
One of the biggest growth sectors in the city has been the restaurant industry with 45 new restaurants opening in the last 5 years, with a further 26 scheduled to open in 2016 creating in the region of 2000 full and part-time jobs.
Sean Bullick, chief executive of NE1 Ltd said: “We’re delighted to be the first city outside Germany to win this prestigious award. Alive after Five has been tremendously successful for Newcastle and it is wonderful to receive international recognition for the initiative and its success. One of our goals is to continue to strengthen and improve the city centre offer to ensure that we maintain our rightful place as a European regional capital city and continue to attract the business, visitors and investment that this affords. Awards like this help put the city on the map.”
Judge Tine Fuchs, of the German Chamber of Commerce and Industry said: “The winner of this year’s BID AWARD is Newcastle upon Tyne. For the first time, a foreign urban development project has won the award of the Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry (DIHK). Similar German initiatives can learn a lot from the winner from the North East of England. This business improvement district (BID) supports the development of the entire city centre. Its Alive after 5 initiative promotes uniform opening hours for retail businesses.”
Newcastle City Council leader Nick Forbes said: “This award from Germany rightly recognises what the people and businesses who make up our city see for themselves on a daily basis; Newcastle is the Great North City with a vibrant and welcoming night life.”
“The Alive after Five initiative has seen the city come to life on an evening as shoppers and families from across the North East enjoy everything from world class food to creative street festivals.”
“I and others in Newcastle are determined to build on this with major new investment plans such as the transformation of the Stephenson Quarter or East Pilgrim Street, further enhancing our reputation as one of Europe’s key regional capitals.”