Banqueting Hall in Jesmond Dene

Banqueting House in Jesmond Dene. Photo courtesy Tyne & Wear Building Preservation Trust

Members of the public are invited to comment on the Charity Commission’s proposed changes to Lord Armstrong’s Deed of Gift dated 1883 as it relates to the Banqueting Hall and Jesmond Dene Park.

The following announcement has been released by the JRA:

Urgent Update: The Banqueting Hall and the Charity Commission – The Armstrong and Hodgkin Charitable Trust

As the Jesmond Residents’ Association’s representative for matters relating to the Banqueting Hall and the Jesmond Dene Estate, I have responded to the charity Commission’s proposed changes to Lord Armstrong’s Deed of Gift dated 1883 as it relates to the Banqueting Hall and Jesmond Dene Park.

Banqueting House in Jesmond Dene. Photo courtesy Tyne & Wear Building Preservation Trust

JRA concerns expressed

The Jesmond Residents’ Association has raised a strong objection highlighting a number of significant issues which must be taken into consideration before any changes are made.

In brief:

1. The poor quality of the consultation regarding the proposed changes by Newcastle City Council. This demonstrates a lack of fairness and openness, and unseemly and unnecessary haste.

It does not demonstrate or reflect the opinions of Jesmond residents or indeed the citizens of Newcastle.

2. The lack of clarity regarding the fate of the four endowment properties held within the Jesmond Dene estate.

The income generated from these properties is ring fenced for the management, upkeep and restoration of the Banqueting Hall as stated in Lord Armstrong’s Deed of Gift.

3. The actual intentions behind the proposed changes have not been made clear by Newcastle City Council or the new Newcastle Parks and Allotments Trust.

The use of Jesmond Dene and the function of the Banqueting Hall were clearly separated by Lord Armstrong’s Deed of Gift. This was for good reason and we do not know why this should be changed.

The Banqueting Hall as a “controlled ruin” is used by the Armstrong Studio Trust and it fulfils Lord Armstrong’s intentions with their outreach activities. Many activities take place within Jesmond Dene which again fulfil Lord Armstrong’s intentions within the Deed of Gift.

4. The current financial effectiveness of Lord Armstrong Deed of Gift is under review by Newcastle City Council which is appropriate. However, there are a number of ideas and proposals from interested parties regarding sourcing funds which should be discussed publicly and openly by Newcastle City Council and Newcastle Parks and Allotments Trust.

Your opportunity to comment

Comments or representations on these proposals can be made to the Charity Commission within one month of 01 June 2019 by completing the form of notice on

www.charitycommission.gov.uk/our-regulatory-work/how-to-comment-on-a-scheme/schemes-and-orders

The scheme number is 494310

I would strongly recommend that you make your voices heard and respond to the Charity Commission proposal. Eileen Strouzer

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

Killingworth Road re-opens for southbound traffic

A key commuter route has finally re-opened – but only for one way traffic southbound coming into Newcastle.

The improvements are part of Newcastle City Council’s plans to improve key junctions across the city – the so-called “Northern Access Corridor” from the Blue House Roundabout, Jesmond Dene Road to Haddricks Mill and beyond.

You can read more about the previous plans from August 2016 for the Blue House Roadabout and Jesmond Dene Road elsewhere on this website.

The following announcement has been made by Newcastle City Council:

As construction work is still ongoing, Newcastle City Council have a phased opening for the A189 in South Gosforth.

Initially only southbound traffic (towards Newcastle city centre) will be allowed on Killingworth Road, with two-way traffic using the road from later in the summer.

Cabinet member for transport and air quality, Cllr Arlene Ainsley said: “It’s great to have Killingworth Road re-opened after its extended closure due to over-running gas works, which has been frustrating for commuters and people living nearby.

“The phased opening allows people on foot and bikes full access with southbound traffic only. Two-way traffic will be back on the road later in the summer when there is enough space to run traffic safely alongside our construction teams.

“Once complete, the project will have addressed a major bottle-neck and maintenance issue on our highways network and provided more sustainable travel choices to help address air quality issues in the local area.”

The council are investing over £13.5m to address maintenance issues and widen a well-known pinch point on the network which caused congestion and delays on one of the city’s busiest roads.

The programme of works included the installation of a new wider Metro bridge, diversion of major gas pipes which severely delayed the project, as well as the widening of the road to install a bus lane and improved facilities for those on foot and bikes.

As part of the closure bus services were re-routed. Stagecoach bus services will keep to their diversion routes but Arriva services 54, X7 and X8 are advising passengers of changes to their routes towards Newcastle.

Construction will continue until 2020.

The above news story 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. 

 

Local elections – register to vote by 12 April

Local elections will be held in Newcastle upon Tyne on Thursday 2 May 2019.

Newcastle City Council elections

One seat in each of the Council’s 26 wards will be up for election. 

This includes the Dene and South Gosforth ward that High West Jesmond is part of.

Ensure that you are registered to vote by 12 April 2019.

Find out more information on the Newcastle City Council website.

Newcastle upon Tyne, North Tyneside and Northumberland Combined Authority Mayoral Election 2019

On 2 May 2019 there will be a mayoral election for the North of Tyne Combined Authority.

People who are registered to vote in local elections for any of the three councils: Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland are eligible to vote.

Find out more details of the mayoral election on the North of Tyne Combined Authority website.

How to register to vote

To vote in the elections to be held on Thursday 2 May 2019 you must be registered by Friday 12 April 2019.

You can now register to vote online in as little as 3 minutes on the GOV.UK website. All you need is your name, address, date of birth and National Insurance number.

Blue House roundabout plans ‘on hold’

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.

You can read a background summary on the Blue House Roundabout here.

Blue House Working Group made proposals

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 for Blue House roundabout 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.

Read more: Haddricks Mill roundabout improvements to start

Read more: Blue House Working Group recommendations slide deck available 

Read more: Meeting hears recommendations from Blue House Working Group

‘On hold’

The Evening Chronicle has reported that plans for the Blue House roundabout have been put ‘on hold’.

Read more on the Evening Chronicle website: Blue House roundabout on hold due to pollution crisis

We need to ‘take into account air quality’

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.”

You can read a background summary on the Blue House Roundabout here.

Parks and allotments trust on track for April handover

Newcastle Parks and Allotments Trust is ‘on track’ to take over running of Newcastle upon Tyne’s parks and allotments in April 2019

The city council plans to transfer many parks and allotments to the new Newcastle Parks and Allotments Trust. The new organisation will be responsible for developing and caring for future generations.

Read more about the future of Newcastle’s parks and allotments on the Newcastle City Council website.

Read Newcastle Parks and Allotments Trust Chief Executive named.

Read Parks and green spaces make vital contribution to local communities

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.

Read about the work of the Friends of the Valley, Little Dene and Little Dene Park (FOVALD) in caring for these open spaces in High West Jesmond.

NAWG minutes report

The minutes of the 7 February 2019 meeting of the Newcastle Allotments Working Group noted that:

“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

James Cross, the new Chief Executive of Newcastle Parks and Allotments Trust

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. 

Residents parking

There has been an ongoing and rather lively debate on the HWJRA Facebook page about the pros and cons of residents’ parking in our area.

Live in High West Jesmond? why not join our HWJRA Facebook group

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.