The Evening Chronicle has reported that the plans to overhaul Newcastle’s Blue House roundabout are ‘on hold’ because of the city’s pollution issues.
Newcastle City Council first unveiled its plans to make major changes to the Blue House Roundabout in 2016.
‘Mega roundabout’ on the Town Moor
The original plans were for a so-called ‘mega roundabout’ to be built on the Town Moor.
There was substantial concern from local residents and huge protests took place which saw the original proposals abandoned.
High West Jesmond Residents Assiciation (HWJRA) represented the views of local residents at the time and opposed the 2016 plans.
Subsequently HWJRA, together with Jesmond Residents Association, West Gosforth Residents Association and others were represented on the Blue House Working Group which was then set up to consider alternative suggestions.
It’s now more than a year since an the alternative proposal from the Blue House Working Group was unveiled and it was expected that a response from Newcastle City Council would be announced soon.
It was anticipated that final designs forBlue Houseroundabout were being developed and modelled based on recommendations from the working group set up following the backlash to original proposals in the summer of 2016.
And these final plans were anticipated to be publicised this summer.
The Evening Chronicle reported on 28 March 2019 that Graham Grant,Head of Transport Investment, told a Newcastle City Council Oversight and Scrutiny Committee meeting on Tuesday that:
“We need to take into account the consultation on air quality.
At the moment, both the Blue House roundabout and Haddricks Mill both feature as part of the Clean Air Zone – we have been clear that we are open to different ideas and interpretations and are consulting on an alternative.
“We need to understand where we are going with that piece of work before we can commit to the design of the Blue House roundabout.
We have said that we will deliver improvements there not all at the same time — we are doing Killingworth Road, then Haddricks Mill, then Blue House roundabout.
We feel that we have sufficient time to take into account the outcomes of the air quality work before we finalise proposals.”
Valley and Little Dene not part of planned transfer
Not all green open spaces in Newcastle upon Tyne will transfer to the new Trust.
Green open spaces that are NOT scheduled to transfer include the well-used community asset known as the Valley and Little Dene, High West Jesmond.
The Valley and Little Dene (along with Little Dene Park which is owned by the Freeman) form part of the urban wildlife corridor through the north of Newcastle and continue to be well used and highly valued by local residents.
“The meeting commenced with a presentation by James Cross, the new CEO of the Parks and Allotments Trust, who was pleased to introduce himself to the group, and Tony Durcan, NCC [Newcastle City Council].
TD updated the meeting on the latest progress. The Trust was now fully constituted, the Board was up and running having had a meeting in January and the new CEO James Cross had taken up his post on 3rd December 2018.
Its Constitution now activated, March 2019 would see the Trading Company section of the Trust applying for charitable status.
Key issues of work still to be achieved, include the agreement that is currently in place on the Duke of Northumberland’s land and a further meeting with the Freemen to discuss the ‘Wartime’ sites.
A Trust strategy meeting was being held on 21st March. NAWG [Newcastle Allotments Working Group] representatives would be invited. JC had begun visits to all allotments and asked for details of allotment waiting lists to assess the need throughout the City.
On track for 1 April 2019 handover
The Parks and Allotments Trust management was still on track for a 1st April handover.
Two NAWG representatives on the Community Representation Group were proposed: Paul Herbertson (west) and Donald Robinson (east) to be ratified during the normal business of this NAWG meeting. CRG findings would be reported to the Board each month. JC also confirmed NAWG as a constituted group which would continue to operate.
Budgets – there was a £2 million cost across parks and allotments per year. Any Council surplus has not been used elsewhere to date.
Under the Trust, funds raised from rents would be reinvested into Parks and Allotments, with priority being given to allotments when/where necessary.
JC confirmed any local revenue raised on allotments e.g. open days, trading hut, would be retained by individual sites. JC also confirmed that better resourced Trust officers responsible for allotments would have a defined budget with continued monthly reporting. JC also confirmed that he had had conversations with all potential key funders already.”
The extract above from the minutes of the Newcastle Allotments Working Group (NAWG) 7 February 2019 meeting was issued by NAWG and included on the NAWG website. It has been included here for information and does not necessarily represent the views of High West Jesmond Residents’ Association.
The next Annual general Meeting of High West Jesmond Residents Association (HWJRA) will be held at the Trinity Church on Gosforth High Street at 7pm on 8 April 2019 at 7pm.
All members are invited and anybody who is a resident of High West Jesmond* and wants to join the association is welcome to come along.
(* Please note that, for the purposes of the Residents Association, it is planned, at the AGM, to define High West Jesmond as the area bounded by Lodore Road to the west and Honister Avenue to the East. The area comprising Beatty Avenue, Sturdee Gardens, Keyes Gardens, Cromer Gardens, Hillcrest Gardens, Willowbank Gardens and Matthew Bank is covered by the Admirals Five Residents Association.
Not a member? Why not join HWJRA?
HWJRA is one of the most successful residents’ associations in Newcastle upon Tyne.
There are approximately 600 households in our area and, from that, we have approximately 180 members. This rates very highly compared to several other associations.
That said, we would still like more members. It costs nothing to join and is by far the easiest way for you to keep in touch with local news and events.
If you live in our area and would like to join the association then all you need to do is send an email with your name, postal address and email address to our membership secretary, Jeffrey Fox.
Would you like to join the Residents’ Association Committee?
HWJRA are looking for some new committee members to inject some fresh thinking and to ensure a better balance of representation of all ages from across our area.
Being on the committee does not involve a significant time commitment – around 6 meetings a year – and it’s a great way to get to know the people in the area and keep up to date with what is happening locally.
If you would be interested in joining the committee then please let our membership secretary, Jeffrey Fox know.
Regrettably our normally peaceful area has recently been suffering from regular visits by a gang of youths who have been causing trouble and damaging cars and windows as they walk from Ilford Road metro to Jesmond Dene.
HWJRA spoke with all three of our local councillors and they in turn spoke with Northumbria Police and Nexus (who own and operate the Tyne & Wear Metro).
We don’t want to tempt fate, but since the arrival of police horses to intercept the teenagers and, following the arrests of seven youths, we don’t appear to have had any more trouble.
The police and Nexus are also continuing to patrol the metros to prevent this happening again in the future.
We have invited Northumbria Police to attend our AGM on the 8 April 2019 so that we can discuss this and any other issues affecting the area.
HWJRA would like to thank everyone involved in bringing this nasty episode to a conclusion.
It’s fair to say that opinion is divided on this matter with those people living on streets near to the metro and bus stops (Albury Road, Moorfield, Ilford Road) more likely to be in favour than those who do not.
The council last tested local opinion on this matter in 2010 and are prepared to do so again, however before they can put the issue of residents’ parking to a local poll they need to conduct an assessment of the current parking density in the area.
HWJRA has pointed out to the council that if they were to do an assessment right now then it might be misrepresentative of what is about to happen.
This is because, under the Streets for People proposed changes to Ilford Road and Moorfield, a number of parking spaces would be lost on both roads with the likely net result that the parking density in the middle part of Moorfield would become even greater.
We have therefore suggested to the council that they either factor this in to their calculations or they delay the assessment until the Streets for People work is completed. We will keep you updated on this.