Annual Ward Priority Setting meeting

Residents are invited to attend a meeting with Dene & South Gosforth Ward councillors to help determine the priorities for the ward for the year ahead.

The meeting will take place on Tuesday 24 July 2018, 7pm at Trinity Christian Community Centre, Lartington Gardens, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE3 1SX.

The meeting is scheduled to finish at 8.30pm.

Trinity Christian Community Centre, Lartington Gardens, Gosforth

Topics for discussion

According to the agenda for the meeting (available on the Dene & South Gosforth Ward Committee meetings page of Newcastle City Council’s website), the meeting will feature:

  • an update from Northumbria Police – from A/Sgt 918 Wilson
  • an update from Graham Grant, Newcastle City Council on Transport Schemes including
  • Killingworth Road, Haddricks Mill roundabouts and Blue House roundabout
  • an update on community groups and community action across Dene & South Gosforth Ward (this will include both our local community groups – the High West Jesmond Residents’ Association and the Friends of the Valley and Little Dene – FOVALD)
  • ward finance including grant applications
  • agreement of priorities and action of Dene and South Gosforth Ward 2018/19

According to papers on Newcastle City Council’s website, Dene & South Gosforth ward has been allocated £3,565 to spend (amount is before decisions on grants currently under consideration).

Share your view with Council survey

The council has also set up a survey and invited residents to complete this – you can find this survey on the council-run Let’s talk Newcastle website on the Dene and South Gosforth Annual Ward Priorities Meeting page.

The following information has been issued by Newcastle City Council:

Membership of Dene and South Gosforth Ward Committee

Councillor Wendy Taylor, Councillor Karen Robinson and Councillor Henry
Gallagher

Watch the short YouTube video to find out more:

General Information on Ward Annual Priority Setting meetings

Each of the 26 Wards of the city will hold 1 annual targeted event to identify
ward priorities.

Annual events will be led by Ward Councillors in consultation with local
residents and stakeholders to share identified draft priorities and seek
validation and commitment for collaborative solutions with partners and the
community and voluntary sector.

Ward priorities will be agreed for the following 12 months and will inform
ward committee budget expenditure.

Annual events will focus on priorities for the ward and what we can do in
partnership, encouraging all stakeholders to be part of the response

Identified ward priorities will inform a work programme / action plan for the
ward and we will work directly with communities based on core themes of
active citizenship, building community capacity, behavioural change and
developing community partnerships.

Common themes will be considered where joint action plans can be
developed to avoid duplication and promote best practice.

Agenda for meeting

A copy of this agenda is available on the Newcastle City Council website on the Dene & South Gosforth Ward Committee meetings page.

Further information can be obtained from the Communities Officer:

Louise Cameron Tel:0191 277 1786 Email: louise.cameron@newcastle.gov.uk

The above ward committee meeting details was issued by Newcastle City Council and included on the Newcastle City Council website. It has been included here for information and does not necessarily represent the views of High West Jesmond Residents’ Association. 

 

Blue House recommendations slide deck available

Current view of Blue House Roundabout, High West Jesmond – from Google Maps

The Blue House Working Group recently made recommendations to Newcastle City Council about the Blue House Roundabout and a public meeting was arranged on 12 March 2018 so that local residents could hear more from the working group.

Download the BHWG presentation

The full 52 page pdf slide deck used for the 12 March 2018 presentation has now become available and has been placed on the Blue House Working Group website here – Blue House Working Group 12 March 2018 presentation

Read more about the 12 March 2018 in our short article on this website Meeting hears recommendations from Blue House Working Group

Meeting hears recommendations from Blue House Working Group

The Blue House Working Group recently made recommendations to Newcastle City Council about the Blue House Roundabout and a public meeting was arranged on 12 March 2018 so that local residents could hear more from the working group.

John Dales, Independent Chair of Blue House Working Group, invited local residents and other stakeholders to a meeting to find out more about the Group’s recommendations about the Blue House junction and the principles that underpin them.

Residents filled the senior school hall at Newcastle School for Boys – photo courtesy Katie Dickinson from Twitter @KatieJDickinson

There was a packed room in the senior school hall at Newcastle School for Boys on The Grove, Gosforth for the meeting which started at 6.30pm.

John Dales introduced the proposals and other members of the Working Group explained how they had been involved with the process of developing the recommendations.

The meeting also provided an opportunity for some questions from the audience, which were responded to by members of the Blue House Working Group and a representative from Newcastle City Council, Graham Grant who is Head of Transport Investment with the Council.

Representatives at the meeting

A number of community groups were represented at the meeting who spoke including:

  • Nick Moore, Chair, High West Jesmond Residents Association
  • Veronica Stoner, Chair, West Gosforth Residents Association
  • Tony Waterson, Chair, Jesmond Residents Association
  • Peter MacDonald, Space for Gosforth
  • Sally Watson, Newcastle Cycling Campaign
  • Andrew Lambert, Gosforth Traffic

Speakers also included two of our local councillors:

  • Stella Postlethwaite, Cllr North Jesmond (Lab)
  • Nick Cott, Cllr West Gosforth (Lib Dem)

Recommendations made to the Council

Current view of Blue House Roundabout, High West Jesmond – from Google Maps

John Dales explained that the working group had made recommendations to the Council.

It was noted that traffic flows at the Blue House Roundabout in 2016 were 10% lower than they had been in 2008 and that this equated to approximately 400 less peak hour vehicles.

Drawing A – proposed by the Blue House Working Group

Drawing A sets out the scope of change recommended at the Blue House junction in the immediate future. This involves limited work.

Drawing B – proposed by the Blue House Working Group

Drawing B sets out how this could be further built upon in the future to increase traffic capacity if this was required. This is more major work, a bigger roundabout and demolition of the Blue House itself.

Download the BHWG presentation

You can download the 52 page pdf slide deck used for the 12 March 2018 presentation here – Blue House Working Group 12 March 2018 presentation

You can read more about the recommendations from the Blue House Working Group here – Blue House Working Group makes recommendations

Council not able to respond to recommendations before purdah starts

The audience was interested in knowing what the next steps would be and when Newcastle City Council would respond to the recommendations it had received from the Blue House Working Group. And when Newcastle City Council would publish its revised plans for the roundabout.

Graham Grant, Head of Transport Investment at Newcastle City Council said that Newcastle City Council would not be able to respond within the next two weeks and then, after 27 March 2018, the ‘purdah’ rules on the run up to the local government elections on 3 May 2018 would prevent the council from making an announcement until after the elections.

This means that local residents will not know the council plans as they go to the polls to elect their local councillors.

Following changes to the ward boundaries in Newcastle upon Tyne the local government election on 3 May will be an ‘all-out’ election with every seat being contested at the same time, rather than the normal third of the seats being up for election. All 78 seats will be up for re-election with electors voting for up to 3 candidates.

Residents were shown recommendation Drawing A – for potential development at Blue House Roundabout – photo courtesy Oliver Ross Assogna from Twitter @OliverR_Assogna

Council to undertake work

Graham Grant explained that the council was undertaking work following receipt of the recommendations from the Blue House Working Group.

He also noted that the council was keen to keep the Blue House Working Group involved as the council develops its plans.

Graham announced that the council’s work would include:

  • Reviewing detailed plans;
  • undertaking a ‘micro simulation’ model;
  • undertaking modelling using air quality software;
  • sharing the results of work with the Blue House Working Group;
  • discussing matters with the Stewards’ Committee of the Freeman of the City of Newcastle;
  • discussing with the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (North East LEP) how criteria for funding can be used; and
  • considering the impact of changes in the public’s travel behaviour.

Graham Grant also committed that representatives from the Blue House Working Group would be invited to meetings with both the North East LEP and the Steward’s Committee.

Questions from audience

Following questions from the audience about openness and transparency, Graham Grant also noted that he was more than happy to give access to the council’s modelling information so that those who were interested would have the opportunity to study the details.

A member of the Blue House Working Group noted that they had challenged some of the outputs from earlier data models as not making sense and when the Council reviewed these again different results were obtained.  John Dales acknowledged that traffic models were always challenging.

Another audience member asked why comments/questions previously left on the Blue House Working Group website had not been responded as not responding did not fulfil the definition of engagement. 

Whilst the Blue House Working Group website had been set up by Newcastle City Council and Open Labs at Newcastle University, a volunteer member of the Blue House Working Group offered an apology that the resources had not been deployed to respond to comments that had been left.

Going forwards, anyone who wishes to receive future updates from the council was asked to leave their email address with Ali Lamb. The council plans to send an update email within the next 2 weeks.

As well as local residents and stakeholders the meeting was also attended by reporters from the Newcastle Chronicle and Jesmond Local. The meeting closed at 8.30pm.

Background reading

 
You can read more about the recommendations from the Blue House Working Group here – Blue House Working Group makes recommendations
 
You can read the response from Newcastle City Council here – Council welcomes residents input into Blue House junction proposals

Residents invited to Blue House Recommendations meeting on 12 March

John Dales, the Independent Chair of Blue House Working Group, is inviting local residents and other stakeholders to a meeting to find out more about the Group’s recommendations about the Blue House junction and the principles that underpin them.

John will be introducing the proposals and answering questions, members of the Working Group will also be speaking about their experience of developing the proposal during their time on the group and answering questions.

You can find out more about the Working Group, read meeting notes and background papers and read the recommendations on the group’s web site.

HWJRA has represented residents

High West Jesmond Residents’ Association (HWJRA) has represented residents’ concerns and has been one of the local community groups that has contributed to the Blue House Working Group discussions on the Blue House Roundabout.

We encourage residents from High West Jesmond to attend this meeting to hear more about the recommendations made by Blue House Working Group to Newcastle City council.

Read:  Council welcomes residents input into Blue House proposals

Meeting details and book via Eventbrite

The meeting will be held on Monday 12 March 2018

Time: 18:30 – 20:30

Venue: Newcastle School for Boys (Senior School Hall), 34 The Grove, Gosforth, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE3 1NH.

Book your tickets via Eventbrite at this link: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/blue-house-working-group-recommendations-tickets-43594377958?utm_term=eventurl_text

Council welcomes residents input into Blue House junction proposals

Proposals for Blue House roundabout have reached a new milestone as Newcastle City Council considers recommendations from local residents and interest groups on the future of the Gosforth junction.

Following public backlash to a consultation in July 2016 to expand the junction on to Town Moor land, the council invited campaigners to work with them to develop alternative proposals.

The recommendations are based on a year-long process, with workshops held with community members and overseen by an independent specialist transport planner.

The council will review them before a formal decision is made.

Cllr Arlene Ainsley, Cabinet Member for Transport and Air Quality said: “I would like to thank the Blue House Working Group for their valuable contributions in collaborating with us on a design for this dangerous junction.

“Blue House roundabout has an appalling safety record that we need to address for the thousands of people who use this junction every day, as well as making it safer and greener for the people who live nearby.

“This is a major junction on a key route into the city centre, which is nestled between the Town Moor and local homes so balancing everyone’s needs in fixing this junction is a complex task.

“I welcome the recommendations from the group and once we have reviewed them, we will make a formal announcement on the future of this notorious junction.”

Built in the 1950’s, the junction’s poor layout and design has resulted in it being a well-known collision hotspot. Over 30,000 vehicles use the junction daily, which suffers from high levels of congestion with queuing on all approaches during peak hours, causing toxic levels of air pollution.

The council has worked with the North East Local Enterprise Partnership to secure over £20m to improve a series of junctions and roads across the north of the city including Cowgate, Blue House, Haddricks Mill double roundabout in South Gosforth and widening the pinchpoint on Killingworth Road.

Independent Chair, John Dales, who facilitated the group’s work said: “I have enjoyed working with the Blue House Working Group. There were, of course, some differences of opinion between group members, and some important questions that are hard to answer, especially to everyone’s satisfaction. With so many issues at stake, and so little certainty about future traffic growth, there simply isn’t a single ‘right answer’. It will be the Council’s role to consider what action is now taken.

“The approach to change that I am recommending, based on the group’s work, is one that tackles the pressing safety issues, sits largely within the existing footprint of the current junction, and will improve conditions for travel by bus, on foot, and by bike.

“These improvements, which will enable local people to leave their cars at home for shorter journeys, will be vital in limiting traffic growth; thereby giving them a direct role in preserving the Town Moor they have fought so hard to save.

“If we manage to reduce the number of vehicles using the junction, especially for short trips, then this solution may last for many years to come. In essence, the group has agreed that it is wiser to try and reduce motor traffic growth than invest in a junction layout that would make growth more likely.”

Recommendations

The recommendations highlight both that current peak traffic flows through the junction are around 10% lower than ten years ago, and that there are important questions about the reliability of the official national predictions of future traffic growth on which the 2016 proposal was based.

The Blue House Working Group believes that, by making walking, cycling and bus travel more attractive, many residents will be influenced by the incentives to change their travel mode on shorter local journeys created by the new design.

Proposal sits within existing roundabout footprint

While the proposed junction layout sits within the existing roundabout footprint, it is designed in such a way that it could be enlarged, should the impact on air quality or motor traffic levels through the junction increase sufficiently to make that necessary.

The recommendations propose that, should the junction need to be enlarged, the historic avenues of trees would be protected, and any land take from Town Moor minimised, were the now-empty Blue House building to be demolished to make room for an enlarged junction.

Council to review recommendations

Newcastle City Council will review the recommendations to ensure it fits with the council’s priorities and meets Government funding requirements. A final decision will be made in early 2018, and if approved a public consultation will follow.

The above news release was issued by Newcastle City Council and included on the Newcastle City Council website. It has been included here for information and does not necessarily represent the views of High West Jesmond Residents’ Association.

HWJRA Chair comments

Recommendation Drawing A – Modified Blue House Roundabout and walk / cycle facilities

Nick Moore from High West Jesmond Residents’ Association said; “My experience of participating in the Blue House Working Group has been a very positive one.

“The final proposal reflects what the group believes is the “best fit” taking into account the key considerations of safety, capacity, efficiency and visual amenity. It was clearly impossible to provide everything that everybody wanted but by the end of the process the group were all happy with the final recommendation.

“I am very happy that the council took the approach that they did and hope that this can become a model for engagement with local residents and other stakeholders for any future projects of major significance.”

Blue House Working Group makes recommendations

Recommendations from the Blue House Working Group have been issued for consideration by Newcastle City Council.

The following news release has been issued by the Blue House Working Group:

The Blue House roundabout, High West Jesmond, Newcastle

The thoughtful and constructive contributions of the Blue House Roundabout Working Group members, has helped the independent chair of the group, John Dales, to come to a recommendation for Newcastle City Council.

That recommendation and the rationale that underpins it is set out below.

Recommendation from Blue House Working Group

Click here to download the recommendation from the Working Group in PDF format.

Position Statement from Blue House Working Group

Click here to download the position statement from the Working Group in PDF format.

Drawing A shows the change recommended

Drawings A and B, below, set out the scope of change recommended at the Blue House junction in the immediate future (A), and how this could be further built upon in the future to increase traffic capacity (B).

These layouts have arisen from an iterative design process involving scrutiny by the Working Group and traffic modelling to understand capacity issues.

Further modelling work is now needed to develop a detailed design and ensure that change at Blue House does as much as possible to improve road safety and enable walking, cycling and bus travel, while providing sufficient capacity for general traffic.

Recommendation Drawing A – Modified Blue House Roundabout and walk / cycle facilities

Click here to download Drawing A in PDF format.

Recommendation Drawing B – how Blue House Roundabout could be further enlarged in the future

Click here to download Drawing B in PDF format.

Jesmond Dene Road changes

In addition, Drawing C sets out the recommended changes for Jesmond Dene Road as far as the junction with Matthew Bank. The layout allows vehicles to make all turns at the Osborne Road junction, and includes a new signalised pedestrian crossing facility across the Osborne Road arm.

To provide a better level of service for people walking, the signalised junction with Moorfield should be modified and a new, signalised walking/cycling crossing should be installed just west of the Friday Fields path. Protected tracks and other measures to enable cycling are also recommended.

Drawing C – Jesmond Dene Road / Moorfield

Click here to download Drawing C in PDF format.

The above news release was issued by the Blue House Working Group and included on the Blue House Working Group website. It has been included here for information and does not necessarily represent the views of High West Jesmond Residents’ Association.

HWJRA Chair comments

Nick Moore from High West Jesmond Residents’ Association said; “My experience of participating in the Blue House Working Group has been a very positive one.

“The final proposal reflects what the group believes is the “best fit’ taking into account the key considerations of safety, capacity, efficiency and visual amenity. It was clearly impossible to provide everything that everybody wanted but by the end of the process the group were all happy with the final recommendation.

“I am very happy that the council took the approach that they did and hope that this can become a model for engagement with local residents and other stakeholders for any future projects of major significance.”

Public meeting planned

 
A public meeting will be organised to discuss the recommendations at some time in February – further details to follow.
 

Background reading

 
You can read the response from Newcastle City Council here – Council welcomes residents input into Blue House junction proposals