Moorfield and Ilford Road proposals revealed

Proposals for changes to Moorfield and Ilford Road roads have been revealed by Newcastle City Council following the earlier public consultations under the Streets for People initiative.

Drop in session on 19 March 2019

A public drop in session is being arranged by Newcastle City Council for the public to see the Streets for People proposals on Tuesday 19 March 2019 3pm – 7pm at Jesmond Library, St George’s Terrace.

Newcastle City Council has spent the time since the public consultation on original proposals were issued in October 2017 converting the findings from the public consultation and internal council consultations into briefs to amend the original drawings in the neighbourhood plans for Heaton & Ouseburn; Jesmond; & Arthur’s Hill & Fenham.

The Council’s Streets for People website January 2019 update says that the amended scheme drawings have been  “thoroughly costed so we have a much clearer idea of what is affordable and achievable within the available budget”.

“It was always our intention to propose a greater number of schemes than we had the budget for, thereby creating a sub set of ‘go to’ proposals in each area that could be brought forward in the event of other funding being identified.”

Newcastle City Council has discussed the options for each area with the Streets for People reference groups and fed this back to local Ward Councillors who have determined the following shortlisted schemes to progress to formal consultation and delivery.

Jesmond proposals

The proposals in Jesmond are as follows:

  • Traffic calming and junction improvements along Moorfield and cycle track on Ilford Road between Jesmond Dene Road and Moorfield;
  • Pedestrian crossings and cycling facilities on Osborne Road at the junctions with St George’s Terrace and North Jesmond Avenue;
  • Raised tables to improve the experience for people walking or trying to cross at the road ends along St George’s Terrace;
  • Closing Norham Place to motor vehicles near the junction with Mistletoe Road; and
  • Decluttering Brentwood Avenue to improve the pedestrian experience and adding some cycle parking near the shops.

You can read about proposals for other parts of Newcastle upon Tyne on the Streets for People website.

Moorfield and Ilford Road proposals

The principal objectives behind the changes are to reduce the speed of traffic on both roads and to improve pedestrian and cycling safety.

Many of you may remember that it was originally proposed to narrow Moorfield by adding a wide cycle lane along its full length.

Whilst there was widespread support for the objectives of reducing speed and increasing safety, the reaction of local residents to the significant narrowing of Moorfield was strongly negative.

High West Jesmond Residents Association were therefore pleased to learn that the Council has reacted to the feedback that they received and has produced a revised proposal that maintains the current width of Moorfield for most of its length.

The Council has advised that full details of the proposal are going to be made available shortly, and have organised a “drop-in session” at Jesmond Library on Tuesday 19 March from 3pm – 7.30pm so that local residents can take a look at the detail of the proposals and comment on them.

Our understanding is that the proposals will include:

  • The introduction of a cycling lane along the west side of Ilford Road from Jesmond Dene Road to Moorfield
  • Tightening of the junction at Moorfield/Ilford Road and introduction of a raised platform to slow traffic as it crosses this junction along and across Ilford Road
  • Introduction of three speed ramps along Moorfield to reduce the speed of traffic along this road
  • Some amendments at the junction of Moorfield and Moor Road South to make this junction safer (we have not yet seen the details of this part of the proposal).

We will make the plans available via our website and the notice board on Newlands Road as soon as they are available from the council.

You can download a copy of the leaflet Newcastle City Council has issued for the drop in session on Tuesday 19 March 2019.

Statutory consultation process

The Streets for People website also states that “We recognise that some people involved in this process may not agree with the shortlisted schemes, and appreciate they will have their own preferences. We also recognise that the delivery of the above schemes are subject to statutory consultation processes and it is clear that some will be significantly more controversial than others. We hope we can rely on your ongoing engagement with the process to get a range of improvements delivered.”

 

Haddricks Mill roundabout improvements to start

Work is to start shortly to improve Haddricks Mill roundabouts in South Gosforth.

The improvements are part of Newcastle City Council’s plans to improve key junctions across the city 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 upcoming Hadricks Mill improvements were also opened for public consultation in August 2016, although the work that is now to take place is much less than the original plan to widen the Haddricks Mill junction and replace the existing 2 roundabouts with 1 substantially larger roundabout.

You can read more about what Newcastle City Council plan below.

The following announcement has been made by Newcastle City Council:

Haddricks Mill double roundabout in South Gosforth is set to benefit from £4m investment to improve safety and congestion through an upgrade of the ageing infrastructure in the area.

A well-known collision hotspot Haddricks Mill also suffers from congestion, delays and safety issues – particularly in relation to cyclists.

Six roads converge

Six roads converge onto the junction which is used by tens of thousands of commuters each day, with queues building up at peak periods, leading to longer journey times and affecting air quality in the area.

The major investment will renovate the bridge the junction sits on, realign traffic lanes to improve lane discipline, re-position the mini-roundabouts to increase capacity and install new crossing facilities that will help balance traffic flow in peak periods.

This should have the added benefit of reducing high levels of congestion and improving air quality.

Cllr Arlene Ainsley, cabinet member for transport and air quality said: “Haddricks Mill is a notorious junction and I am pleased it is to be given a much-needed overhaul.

“This is a major safety and infrastructure upgrade scheme, designed to improve safety and smooth traffic flow at peak periods – reducing congestion and encouraging more sustainable choices of travel – which should improve air quality.

“Due to the junction’s location over the Ouseburn and several businesses lining the approaches, the options available to improve it are limited but we have designed a scheme that delivers safety and congestion improvements for one of the key routes into the city and which takes into account residents’ feedback from our earlier consultation.”

The works are a scaled-down version of the proposals the council consulted on in 2016 and addresses many of the concerns raised by residents such as the size of the junction, changes to access to a local housing estate and proposed banned turns and movements.

Work will last until 2020

The council plans to take advantage of the current closure on Killingworth Road to start preparatory work on the junction, reducing the disruption to commuters before the main works start.

The main programme of work to the carriageway will be begin this spring and should last until early 2020.

However, the council is committed to minimising disruption and keeping two-way traffic on all approaches – apart from occasional night-time and weekend closures for resurfacing towards the end of the programme.

Minor tree removal is necessary with up to ten trees needing to be removed as part of the scheme, but the council will replace them with at least 30 trees to further improve the environment.

The full package of improvements includes:

•           Water-proofing and maintenance to the bridge the junction sits on

•           Re-construction of carriageway

•           Raised bridge parapets to improve safety

•           Realignment of the roundabouts to increase capacity

•           Widened lanes and better signage to improve lane discipline

•           Improved crossing points for pedestrians and cyclists on the main arms of the junction to control the flow of traffic at peak periods

•           Improved cycling and walking facilities including accessible routes to the Wagon Way

•           Segregated cycle lanes incorporated where space allows

•           Raised table to reduce speeding on Hunters Road

Full plans for Haddricks Mill junction

You can also download the full plans for Haddricks Mill junction.

And read more in a leaflet produced by Newcastle City Council.

Planned Newcastle Northern Access Corridor road

The works to Haddricks Mill is part of planned improvements for a key transport corridor which runs from Cowgate to the north of the city, including Blue House roundabout, Haddricks Mill and Killingworth Road.

Revised Blue House Roundabout plans

Final designs for Blue House are being developed and modelled based on recommendations from a working group set up following the backlash to original proposals in the summer of 2016.

These will be publicised this summer.

Killingworth Road ongoing works

We’re investing over £13.5m to widen the well-known pinch point at Killingworth Road.

This funding is focused on addressing some major maintenance issues including the retaining wall and ensuring the bridge over the Ouse that the Haddricks Mill junction sits on is safe for future generations.

Over-runs to the gas diversion works has meant a delay to the re-opening of Killingworth Road. Newcastle City Council would like to thank everyone for their patience during the roadworks. You can read more here.

The project received £4m from the Government’s Local Growth Deal through the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP). The Local Growth Deal is supporting major capital investments to promote innovation, economic and skills infrastructure and sustainable transport as part of the North East Growth Deal.

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. 

Killingworth Road could re-open from May

The following announcement has been made by Newcastle City Council:

Newcastle City Council is advising motorists that Killingworth Road could re-open to traffic from May providing the weather conditions remain stable.

The council say current project timelines, barring severe weather events such as last year’s Beast from the East, could see the road partially open to traffic before summer.

Due to on-going construction works, initially only one-way (south bound) traffic and pedestrians could be accommodated in the available road space. Estimates show two-way traffic could use the road from July onwards.

Essential work by contractors is still taking place around the Metro bridge which has pushed back the early 2019 re-opening. Further construction work is required before the road can safely be re-opened to traffic and pedestrians.

Project manager, Jon Higgins from Newcastle City Council said: “We appreciate the inconvenience the extended closure on Killingworth Road has had on the travelling public and we would like to reassure motorists that we are working closely with contractors to open the road as soon as possible.

“Current estimates show that we could have one-way traffic using the road in May, but this is heavily based on no further complications such as severe weather conditions further hampering progress on site.

“We know this is disappointing for motorists and we appreciate their patience during the extended road closure, but safety is paramount before we can allow traffic and pedestrians back on Killingworth Road.”

The project was beset with difficulties during the gas pipes replacement programme with Northern Gas Networks which caused it to severely over-run.

Engineers have been reviewing the timeline to compensate for the delays but with multiple contractors involved and complex engineering work required the project has slipped back.

Contractors are currently finalising piling works to construct new retaining walls next to the Metro bridge. Once this is complete, construction teams can access the site under the bridge to do final road-widening works.

A phased opening is planned which will allow traffic and pedestrians with safe routes through the roadworks. As the scheme progresses, further road space will become available and two-way traffic will be introduced.

The council will continue the last stages of the works with installing widened footpaths, cycle lane, bus lane, vehicle lane and safer crossings.

Construction work will continue into early 2020.

Once complete, the project will improve air quality, reduce journey times and improve public transport reliability on one of the major commuter routes into the city.

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. 

Mobike exits Gosforth and High West Jesmond

The cycle-sharing scheme Mobike UK has cut Gosforth and High West Jesmond from its operating area in Newcastle.

The announcement of the reduced operating area in Newcastle came in September 2018.

Users of the mobile app were presented with a new map of the operating area when they logged in on their smartphones.

Image courtesy Evening Chronicle (from a Mobike UK handout – September 2018) “Mobike is reducing the size of the designated cycling area in Newcastle and Gateshead. The blue line was when we first launched; the light grey area was where we expanded; the darker area is the ‘new’ operating area.”

Mobike UK launced with a fanfare in October 2017.

Having expanded the initial area of operating in February 2018 to include High West Jesmond, Gosforth and other areas in the north of Newcastle upon Tyne, the latest change severly restricts the operational area in the city.

Read our Feb 2018 article: Mobike extends to High West Jesmond & Gosforth

Mobike previously expanded to Gosforth & High West Jesmond

Mobike UK itself issued a blog posting in Feb 2018 promoting its expansion in Newcastle noting that it was:

“expanding its successful scheme in Newcastle to respond to increasing demand from the city and its residents.”

“The expansion follows discussions between Mobike, local authorities and councils. Newcastle has made significant investment in cycling infrastructure in recent years, thanks to it becoming one of the UK’s eight ‘Cycle Cities’ and its ambition to support sustainable travel. New cycle lanes and routes, both inside and out of the city centre, make Newcastle a perfect Mobike city.”

Now High West Jesmond & Gosforth are cut out from cycle scheme

Removing High West Jesmond and Gosforth means that residents can no longer take advantage of bikes in their local area.

At one point the cycle racks at the Ilford Road Metro station (platform towards the coast and airport) regularly had the distinctive orange Mobikes available, as illustrated in the photo below from 2 August 2018. 

Mobikes parked at Ilford Road Metro station on 2 August 2018

However, despite the fine weather, for much of the school summer holidays there were no orange Mobikes available at all at Ilford Road Metro station – the picture on 4 August 2018 illustrates the lack of bikes.

All gone – even before the official announcement of the exclusion of High West Jesmond from the cycle-sharing scheme, there were no Mobikes at Ilford Road Metro station on 4 August 2018

Our Twitter account @highwestjesmond notified Mobike UK of the lack of bikes at Ilford Ropad Metro station on 4 August 2018 and we received a reply that stated “thanks for letting us know – we will get bikes back to this area soon”.

Mobike UK responds on 6 August to previous tweet from @highwestjesmond notring lack of bikes on 4 August 2018

The shrinkage in the operating area in Newcastle in Sept 2018 follows a decision by Mobike UK to withdraw completely from Manchester.

 

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