Summer Happening on Little Dene Park

 

***Change of date – now Sunday 21 July from 1pm***

Friends of the Valley and High West Jesmond Residents’ Association are hosting a small event on Sunday 21 July 2019 on Little Dene Park (Moorfield) to celebrate the green environment that surrounds our community, High West Jesmond.

You may know that FOVALD, has adopted both the Valley & Little Dene Park and has also been managing the Little Dene as a nature resource for 19 years now.

Volunteers lending a hand

A lot of the maintenance work is carried out by the Tuesday gardening group, Lending a Hand (which is part of FOVALD), which also undertakes environmental tasks on many of the streets in our community, as well as the Little Moor.

Little Dene Park adopted

It is more than a year since Little Dene Park was adopted, so the motivation for the event is:

(i) to celebrate the Park’s 66’th birthday;

(ii) to try & raise some funds for one or two proposed improvements;

(iii) to let residents see the latest Streets for People proposals;

(iv) to provide an opportunity for a “get-together”.

Summer happening

There will be some cakes & soft drink tables, a tombola, a few games to try your hand at, some photos of the Valley & the area to look at and discuss, plus up-to-date info from the Residents Association about the Streets for People programme and other “big issues” on the horizon!

Last but not least, there will be a Ukulele Band playing some entertaining & soothing background music!

So please come along and join us for a chat and to listen to the music on Sunday 21 July 2019 from 1pm.

***The event will now take place on Sunday 21 July, rather than the previously advertised Saturday 20 July due to the weather forecast for Saturday***

We look forward to seeing you there!

Cath Snowden, Chair – FOVALD and Nick Moore, Chair – HWJRA

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. 

Walk the bounds 2019 – a tour of High West Jesmond

Join us for a fascinating tour of High West Jesmond and learn more about the history of our community

We are delighted to invite you to our 2019 walking tour of ‘the bounds’ of High West Jesmond.

This will once again be led by Chris Morgan who residents will remember led us on a facinating tour during 2018.  Chris has also kindly shared some of his photographs of High West Jesmond’s past that we have featured on this website.

Date: Sunday 2 June 2019

Time: 10.30am

Meeting place: outside Delicious Decadence, Newlands Road, NE2 3NT

The tour will take approximately 2 hours and will explain the last 200 years of this special area on the border of Jesmond and Gosforth.

It will be illustrated with many old photographs and tales from Chris Morgan’s personal memory and those of his mother who played here before many of the houses were built.

We look forward to seeing you on Sunday 3 June.

Download a copy of the Walking the Bounds of High West Jesmond event poster here. 

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. 

FOVALD appreciation of Susan Lydia Challoner

Plaque commissioned by FOVALD’s Lending a Hand group to show appreciation to former resident who donated the ‘gap in the wall’

The Friends of the Valley, Little Dene and Little Dene Park’s (FOVALD) Lending a Hand Group has recently commissioned a new plaque to tell the story of the ‘hole in the wall’ at Little Dene Park.

On Friday 8 February Catherine McKinnell MP was invited to unveil the plaque commemorating the gift by Susan Lydia Challoner of the ‘gap in the wall’ that gives us all a short cut on to Moor Road South.

The plaque has been commissioned by FOVALD’s Lending a Hand Group that now looks after the Little Dene Park in addition to the Valley and Little Dene.

Members of FOVALD, the Lending a Hand Group and local High West Jesmond residents attended the ceremony to learn more about the generosity of Susan Lydia Challoner and the history of this part of High West Jesmond.

Who was Susan Lydia Challoner?

The plaque commemorates a lady called Susan Lydia Challoner who lived in Moor Road South between 1936 and 1953.

The park, which we now know as Little Dene Park, was constructed by the Newcastle City Council in 1952-53.

Mrs Challoner, who died in that year, bequeathed the money to pay for the entrance from Moor Road South.

The ‘hole in the wall’ has become a very well used route for residents in Gosforth and High West Jesmond.

The original plaque commemorating Mrs Challoners gift disappeared around 1990.

As part of FOVALD’s environmental improvement plan for the Little Dene Park they decided to reinstate the plaque.

FOVALD’s Lending a Hand Group tapped into resident’s memories to find the wording that best reflected the original and they commissioned the new plaque from Thorpes of Gosforth.

FOVALD caring for our green spaces

FOVALD (Friends of the Valley, the Little Dene and Little Dene Park) a small voluntary organisation based in High West Jesmond.

They have adopted the Valley from the City Council and the Little Dene Park from the City’s Freemen (it is part of the Town Moor).

FOVALD also look after the original Little Dene as a nature resource.

On Tuesday mornings, FOVALD organise’s a group called Lending a Hand that does the maintenance & improvement work on the green spaces in this part of High West Jesmond, as well as keeping all the other verges and paths in the area tidy.

Many thanks to FOVALD and to the Lending a Hand group for their ongoing work to enhance our community green spaces.

Chris Morgan also writes to share some history

When the High West Jesmond estate was first laid out Moorfield stopped at the now triangular junction with Lodore Road.

The main way into HWJ from the Great North Road was by the path that cut across the Little Moor.

However there must also have been a path leading from that corner to the bottom of Moor Road where the Little Bridge still crossed the Craghall Burn. My mother remembered playing in the stream at that point.

It must have been very soon after WW1 that Moorfield was extended through to the Great North Road and the stream went into a culvert to emerge in the grounds of the old house, Little Dene.

Boundary of Newcastle

At this time the stream formed the boundary between the City and County of Newcastle upon Tyne and the County of Northumberland. On the surface the stone wall was the boundary.

The Little Moor is part of the Town Moor owned by the Freemen, but this part of the Little Moor was now isolated.

Little Park

In 1952 the Freemen released the area north of Moorfield to form a Coronation Park (there must have been thousands of others across the nation, it was a time of great euphoria and celebration), although it wasn’t known as such. We all called it the Little Park.

The flower beds created were almost totally of clay and little grew for decades! I believe they may still be a challenge.

When the park was laid out there was a path extending around the perimeter with a dead end spur ending beside the stone wall. If memory serves correctly my friend Tony Devine’s bike/trike/scooter ran away down the gradient and he crashed into the wall, badly breaking his arm.

Hole in the wall

A clamour grew to have the wall opened up to allow free passage onto Moor Road South. It may not have happened for 2 or 3 years after 1953.

A simple plaque was positioned and the name Challoner was on it. There may have been another name as well.

Twice a day nuns from the convent just up Moor Road walked through the gap to and from La Sagesse school at the top of Matthew Bank.