Necastle City Council Proposal to build a motorway sized roundabout on The Town Moor(3 Posts)
Newcastle City Council is proposing to build a motorway sized roundabout on the Great North Road, between Newcastle and Gosforth, and on parts of The Town Moor there. It would take up 35% of Little Moor and 25% of Dukes Moor - these are the sections of Moor nearest Gosforth and West Jesmond. The new roundabout would be placed just north of the present Blue House Roundabout. The City Council has a large grant to carry out the scheme, which is not coming from their own resources.
The proposed roundabout is too big for the place it is intended for,
and it will not solve the problems it is intended to solve.
This roundabout would be part of a greater scheme linking it to
another enormous roundabout at Haddricks Mill (south Gosforth). There
is at least one other very large one at Cowgate. So, if the plans are
all carried out, very popular sections of the hitherto fairly unified city, would begin to seem like islands within a motorway system.
As a result of the proposed Blue House scheme for the roundabout on
The Great North Road, most of the double line of mature trees
alongside the existing road would be cut down. loss of the leaf cover that protects the air from dangerous PM 2.5 particles; and loss of the production of oxygen. Though the intention is to replace the trees with saplings, it would be many years before the present state of growth would be established.
This loss of trees, together with the taking up of a vast space of the
north part of the Town Moor with the roundabout, would certainly
destroy the beauty of this historic road which goes back to Roman times.
This city landscape feature is a particularly beautiful aspect of Newcastle and a part of its culture and heritage. The city is exceptional in that its
centre is linked to its outlying communities by this tree
lined corridor, flanked by fields.
Few of the houses here have gardens, so the extent of the loss of this
amenity to the people who live in the area, should this scheme go
ahead, cannot be over estimated. But people from all over the city use
it too. Aside from this loss of recreational landscape, the loss of
its heritage to the city as a whole would also be immense.
In addition, the proposed roundabout would also visually, and
physically, separate the natural flow between Gosforth and Jesmond
enjoyed by its present communities - the more so because certain road
turning, into Jesmond would be cut off for vehicular traffic. It would
mean too that the use of this land as a communal green space for
recreational purposes would never be the same again.
When questioned, a person in charge of road designs at the City
Council said, that, "[They] would not be taking from the Moor,
[they] would be adding to it." When asked how, the reply was that they would be giving some land to north Kenton - "[They] would be giving it to another
community." But this is misleading because a geographical place cannot be moved.
The Freemen of Newcastle, who control the land, must have been
consulted and must be considering granting the council a chink of this
land that has been entrusted to them for the last 800 years.
Newcastle City Council has put their proposal to the public with a
consultation period that started at the beginning of the school
holidays, and during the universities' holidays, when a great
many people are away. The council displays of the road scheme on their comment website only show the roundabouts in isolation, so the relationship of the proposed roundabout at Blue House, to the land around, is not at all clear.They have also made great use of CAD virtual designs showing extra-large, mature trees - where in reality there would be saplings
for years to come.
The intention of building the new roundabout north of the present,
small, Blue House Roundabout, is ostensibly to make a roundabout that
is safer: for cars, pedestrians, and bicycles; to decrease pollution;
and, to increase the flow of traffic and stop traffic congestion.
There are other ways of making it safer, however, for example with
traffic lights linked to crossing systems - at present there are none; by slowing down the traffic speed before entering and after leaving the roundabout; by making a much smaller, Dutch style roundabout with entirely separate cycle lanes and some pedestrian crossings . Yet, no other
options have been put to the public.
In practice, the proposed scheme, if implemented, could well be more
dangerous than the existing small roundabout. Pollution would be worse
near the proposed roundabout, owing to the loss of the trees. There
would be even more pollution in Gosforth High Street too, where it is
already at dangerous levels, if more vehicles are encouraged along the
As to the flow, the roads the roundabout will feed into will be as
small as ever, so congestion will simply be moved to other sections.
In addition, the large roundabouts will facilitate and encourage large
lorries to use this route rather than others.
It is also well known know, that when road capacity is increased to solve the problem of capacity, the solution is short lived - because yet more traffic is encouraged.
In this century, the idea should be to increase the use of transport
in general, in its wider sense, through park and ride schemes, well
timed buses, and cycle lanes - not to encourage individual cars and
lorries. The 33/33A bus service between Gosforth and Jesmond, which is
a vital link for non-car drivers, might even be lost - which
shows how far this plan is from providing a general transport system
that works in such a way that individual car use is reduced.
Exacerbating all this, the council has also encouraged the building of
new housing estates on greenfield sites outside the city, especially
to the north of Gosforth, instead of in brownfield sites within the
city. These estates also are built without adequate thought to the
provision of schools, GP's surgeries, shops or leisure facilities, or
adequate public transport systems, for the people living in them.
The City Council has provided a website where you can view their plans
and comment. All comments are due by 21st of August - *the day
after tomorrow*. The comment site begins with a slider bar at the top, which can be used to denote how far you are against or for
the proposal, depending on the direction you slide it towards:
View Newcastle City Council Plans, and leave your comment -
It would also help to send your views to Graham Grant, who deals with
road schemes at Newcastle City Council.
And to write your objections to : The Freemen of Newcastle who would
have some power to veto the present scheme; Councillor Nick Forbes,
Leader of Newcastle City Council and lead member of transport on the
North East Combined Authority; and, possibly, your own MP who must represent your views regardless of their political party.
Here is a list:
Graham Grant -
The Freemen of Newcastle -
Councillor Nick Forbes -
Your local MP who may be:
Newcastle North: email@example.com
Newcastle Central: firstname.lastname@example.org
Newcastle East: email@example.com
These are local to the area in question, but you may write to your MP to comment, wherever you live.
Below is a list of other groups resisting, some with petitions you may
wish to sign, against the proposed plan:
1. Facebook, "Save Our Town Moor".
2. Newcastle Liberal democrats - Proposals for roundabout at Blue
House, Great North Road.
3. Change.Org "Newcastle says NO to Blue House Roundabout Proposals"
4. Space for Gosforth, a local group promoting cycling.
5. An article written by "Better Transport"
6. Attached, another illustration showing the proposed roundabout and
the Town Moor land the council would obtain from The Freemen drawn on
a Google Earth image looking north - south, from Gosforth towards
Newcastle, along The Great North Road.
7. Attached, A diagram from the City Council showing the proposed road scheme in red and the existing one in blue, set on a map. This cannot be seen on the Comment website. Here it is labelled. North is at the top, where Gosforth is. The existing Blue House Roundabout is the very small blue circle shown on the diagram.
Dates to remember for those interested are:
* "*March for the Moor*" on Sunday 21st at 2 p.m.
starting by Dukes Moor.
Chi Onwurah, the MP for West Gosforth, will be holding a meeting at
Trinity Church, Gosforth
Wednesday, 24th August at 6 p.m.
You need to register to go to the meeting at: ChiOnwurahMP.com
The March to Save the Moor, tomorrow, Sunday 21st august 2016
will be meeting up at Little Moor, not Duke's Moor - as previously arranged.
This message has been sent round:
"Please come along to support this event to show the Council that you are against the plan. There has been an encouraging response against the proposals so far, but we need to keep up the pressure. (Could you also encourage friends and neighbours to sign the petition at bluehousetohaddricks.commonplace.is/ if not already done so. This will be presented to the next meeting of Newcastle City Council on 7th September)
Following police advice and expectations of potential higher numbers of people attending than expected we are issuing further advice about the proposed protest meeting.
Please assemble at Little Moor, at the junction with Moorfield, at 2pm. Bring your own protest banners if you wish, as TV coverage is possible.
The rally will take place only on Little Moor. Please do not gather on Dukes Moor as you may disturb the cattle.
There are no restrictions to the normal use of the public highway, therefore if coming to the rally by car, you are advised that you must park in a safe location. Pedestrians should observe normal road safety when crossing to the rally.
The police ask that no-one obstructs the public highway, either by vehicular or pedestrian means, so we ask people to act responsibly.
Here's an update of a statement we've issued to the media, and which was reported in The Journal this morning (follow the link at the bottom of the page)
As the deadline for responses to Newcastle City Council's consultation on the controversial Blue House roundabout proposals closes this weekend, Opposition Liberal Democrat councillors from the Gosforth and Jesmond wards are to lead a protest rally about the threat to Dukes Moor and Little Moor this Sunday afternoon.
The Liberal Democrat Opposition on the city council will use the event to call upon the city council to abandon its proposal for a major junction using land taken from the Town Moor, which has attracted widespread and vociferous criticism from residents and transport campaigners.
In a joint statement, the Lib Dem councillors for West Gosforth, East Gosforth, Parklands, and North Jesmond commented:
"Lib Dem councillors representing the Gosforth and Jesmond parts of the city are well aware of the strength of local concern and anger at the council's proposals and have expressed disappointment that the council has missed opportunities to involve local people in identifying more appropriate options for this junction. We continue to have grave concerns at the proposal's impact on the Moor and neighbouring communities, particularly in relation to the displacement of traffic into West Jesmond. We cannot endorse this proposal and we will be supporting cross-party efforts to get the council to rethink its approach to the Blue House junction. We will be marching alongside our constituents to call on the council to listen to reason and abandon this plan."
Opposition transport spokesman Cllr Greg Stone said:
"The Lib Dem Opposition recognises the importance of improving Newcastle's transport network, particularly in relation to sustainable transport and public transport, and we accept that Blue House is a key junction in the road network. We are very conscious of the need to improve safety at this junction for all road users, including cyclists and pedestrians. However, it is emphatically clear that there is no support for the option the council has proposed.
As the consultation closes, we believe it is now time for the council to confirm it will withdraw the current proposal and table alternatives. We are aware that the council previously bid in 2013 to the Department for Transport for a conventional signal controlled junction at this location and we feel this would be a much more sensible option for the council to consult upon.
We invite members of the public to support our march and rally where we will call on the council to listen to its citizens and call a halt to this inappropriate plan. The council's Labour leadership has already lost its way over the bins crisis and the state of the city's streets. Pressing ahead with this scheme will only do further damage to the council's credibility locally and nationally. "
The City Council has now decided not to go ahead with this plan. The road department intends to work with the public to find a new one.
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