March for the Moor – say NO to motorway on the Moor

Local community objects strongly to road building plans that threaten green open space

High West Jesmond Residents’ Association strongly objects to the plans in consultation put forward by Newcastle City Council for the Blue House Roundabout and Jesmond Dene Road junctions.

In conjunction with other affected residents groups and other local organisations we invite you to let your voice be heard by coming along to the March on the Moor on 21 August 2016 with banners/placards or anything else to make your views known.

 

2015 FOVALD Annual Report

Friends of the Valley and Little Dene Annual Report

2015 Committee Annual Report

Community events in 2015

1915-2015 Celebrations of centenary of residents use of The Valley – High West Jesmond Newcastle

2015 was celebrated as our “Centenary Year” – marking 100 years continuous use of the Valley by residents of High West Jesmond!

The main event, the Centenary Festival in early June, was not blessed with the best weather.

Our pitching of tents and gazebos invariably encourages the usual rain clouds to pay us a visit! However, a good crowd attended, the stalls sold out, our “Town Crier” was in good voice and lots of new residents took an interest in the history of the Valley and signed up as supporters.

A bonus was that in the run-up to the festival we found former resident Bev Bagnall, whose family lived on Lodore Road in the 1950’s & 60’s. His family photos gave us a glimpse of what the original Valley looked like before the City Council filled it in 1962.

A big “thank you” to all who helped make it a successful day, including the promotions company NE1 for 3 excellent gazebos, to our local café “Deliciously Decadent” for a lovely cake, to Chris & his Dad at our “Simply Local” shop for a bottle of whisky for the tombola, Andy at North Jesmond Garage for the energy supply and to St George’s Church and St Hilda’s Church for the tables and chairs.

The festival was complemented by a Family Picnic arranged in August by David & Sarah Dargue. The weather was much kinder and, as can be seen below, between 15-20 families enjoyed the afternoon and early evening.

Thanks to David, Sarah and everyone who contributed. It’s hoped that the picnic will become a regular event.

Preceding both of these events was the Easter Egg Hunt – adults(!) as well as children searching for goodies among the undergrowth and nooks & crannies. Fun was had by all!

Environment and Wildlife

Hedgehogs were spotted on the Valley in 2015, hopefully a spin-off from the wildlife shelters that we’ve created. Hedgehogs are becoming endangered, so if you spot one please let us know!

The vegetation in the Little Dene is now very dense in places, a consequence of falling trees, which is perhaps one of the reasons why so many foxes have been sighted during the year.

The spring flowers and wildflowers continue to please – not just us, but also the insect population! Lots of bees & butterflies seen and heard over the summer. A target for 2016 will be to identify the types of butterflies, as well as carrying out bird and bat surveys.

In terms of the arboriculture: the two chestnut trees next to Newlands Road were quite spectacular last spring; the hazel trees next to the culvert are thriving & provide an excellent food source for the squirrels and field mice; the rhododendrons in the NE corner of the Valley are now making a significant contribution.

Village Green Application

Our application, which was submitted in June 2014, has still not been finally resolved by the City Council.

The only objection to our application was from the City Council itself, as “landlord”. In dealing with the objection and our comments, the Council sought advice from two barristers.

The legal advice that they received indicated that we may not have satisfied one of the criteria in the 2006 Commons Act. We do not intend to employ a barrister to contest this. Therefore, we continue to wait to hear from the City Council.

Gone but not forgotten

Several of our members & supporters passed on during 2015:

Charles Hall, Rectory Road. Aged 92, Charles was one of our founding members.

Chris Craig, Lodore Road. Aged 63, Chris was a regular at our events.

Sybil Durno, Newlands Road. Aged 96, Sybil had used the Valley since 1935 and gave an excellent statement in support of our Village Green application.

Barry Parmley, Lodore Road. Barry was a long-time supporter & a regular at events.

John Parker, Rectory Rd. Aged 85, John was also a long time supporter and a volunteer at most of our events.

All will be sorely missed. However, we are sure that they would appreciate the number of young families and children using the Valley in 2015.

Committee of Friends of the Valley and Little Dene
December 2014

Blue House roundabout plan ‘over the top’

Petition against plans started

The following article was published on the BBC News Tyne & Wear website.

 

A Newcastle Cycling Campaign member made a composite of a map and the council plan to show the scale of the proposals – Newcastle City Council/Google

A petition against plans to build a large road junction on land protected by an act of parliament has been signed by hundreds of people.

The Blue House roundabout, on the outskirts of Newcastle, is congested and unsafe, the city council has said.

The authority proposes moving it and expanding it on to the Town Moor.

Sarah Edgar, who started the petition, said the scheme was “environmentally damaging, very expensive and is completely over the top in its scale“.

The 1988 Newcastle Upon Tyne Town Moor Act prevents development on the moor without permission of the city’s Freemen.

They have been approached for comment.

Campaigners are unhappy with plans to build the roundabout on sections of Little Moor (shown here) and Dukes Moor

The Labour-run council said the current roundabout was congested, did not work well for public transport, pedestrians and cyclists and had one of the worse safety records in the city.

The authority said it had a responsibility to ensure the junction becomes safer and does not “constrain growth” in housing and employment.

The plans are at an early consultation stage, it said.

The Blue House roundabout, on the edge of Gosforth in Newcastle, is unsafe and congested and has to be changed the council says – Newcastle City Council

Hundreds of people had commented online and the response had been “overwhelmingly negative”, Mrs Edgar said.

Residents have called it “completely out of proportion” and a “monumental and misguided waste of money”.

Newcastle City Council has been accused of misleading residents by picturing mature trees in plans showing how the roundabout would look – Newcastle City Council

The consultation period – due to end on 21 August – was a “very short window for response” when many were away on holiday, Mrs Edgar said.

“This is an irreversible decision that cuts into our great city’s precious green space.”

Liberal Democrat transport spokesman Greg Stone said the plans were “more radical and have a far bigger ‘footprint’ than many had envisaged”.

“We share local anxiety that this has a disproportionate impact on the Town Moor – a unique jewel in our city’s crown,” he said.

We would welcome clarity as to whether the Freemen support this proposal.”

The above article was published on the BBC News Tyne & Wear website.

Newcastle City Council announces plans to build on Town Moor

Shock plans announced to expand Blue House Roundabout and build on green open space of Town Moor

Residents in High West Jesmond, Gosforth and other parts of Jesmond have received official notification of plans by Newcastle City Council to expand the Blue House Roundabout which will involve building on part of the Town Moor and major work to Jesmond Dene Road and Haddricks Mill junctions.

The letter from Graham Grant, Head of Transport Investment at Newcastle City Council also announced a public engagement period between 25 July – 21 August 2016.

Consultation during school holiday period

The letter refers to a short public engagement period which coincides with the summer school holidays when a number of people may be away.

There are a series of drop-in sessions scheduled at local venues and we urge you to attend these, ask questions and make your voice heard!

You can download the full letter from Graham Grant here.

High West Jesmond Residents’ Association will be seeking the views of affected residents in order that we can represent local concerns. More to follow.