Gosforth eFocus 27 - 20th December 2014

December 22, 2014 12:17 PM
By Gosforth Liberal Democrats

GOSFORTH ​INFORMAL ​TOWN MEETING REPORT BACK

The first 3-ward informal Town Meeting for Gosforth was held on 27th November. A​round 200 people attended, with a wide range of views about current issues, but particularly the current and proposed road works​. This was primarily a listening exercise by Councillors, which they hope to repeat in the future. The issues would also be debated at Ward Committee meetings, and detailed issues for individuals would be taken up by Ward Councillors. There was an electronic opinion poll conducted to try to simplify some of the issues - the results would be published in Focuses as soon as practicable.

As a direct response to what was said to us, we have tabled the following Motion to be discussed at the first meeting of Newcastle ​C​ity Council in the New Year

Council recognises that in the recent consultation exercise concerning the Gosforth Transport proposals:

• A combination of 49% of respondents wanted either Option A or Option B.
• 51% of respondents wanted no change
• Not all of those who supported Option A will necessarily be in favour of Option B and vice versa.

Council notes that a new hybrid proposal has been devised that includes elements of both Option A and B. However it does not follow that those respondents in favour of either Option A or B are in favour of the new combined Option.

Council further notes that plans to realign Salters Road junction involve the loss of approximately half of the car parking spaces at Salters Road car park and that concerns remain that this will impact trade.

Council acknowledges that the Gosforth transport proposals have been subject to a scrutiny call in and Cabinet decision but now believes that further discussion is needed with local residents and businesses to build consensus and address concerns about the quality of the evidence behind the decision and the impact on the High Street area.

Council resolves to ask the Cabinet to urgently re-open the consultation process - working closely with the ward committees in East Gosforth, Parklands and West Gosforth - so that the people of Gosforth can give their considered opinion on the new Option.

Council further resolves to instruct engineers to model alternative configurations of the junction for consultation purposes which involve minimising the loss of the spaces and to draw up plans to install new parking spaces in the High Street area.


TRAFFIC CHAOS - MORE TO COME​?​

Many people locally are outraged by the impact of the new traffic management system around Regent Centre. They feel, not without reason, that at best the scheme has been started at half-cock, and at worst it is fundamentally misconceived.
In the New Year the great North Road from Knightsbridge north to Broadway is to be resurfaced. A Traffic Regulation Order is proposed which will see the road closed and massive ​nighttime ​diversions for at least 2 weeks. The closures will operate through the night and all appropriate advance warning signs will be placed on the adjacent highway network.​ ​
We note that Newcastle City Council has awarded itself the contracts for the works in Gosforth, and that they don't contain any "road hire" clauses which have been an incentive to minimise road closure times elsewhere.
More and better information when we have it...

BROADWAY EAST SCHOOLS TRAVEL PLAN

An amended plan has now been produced as a result of discussions held with the Schools concerned. The Council is planning to start the consultation with Stakeholders and residents / businesses in the immediate vicinity very soon. Parklands Councillors have asked for a drop-in session to be organised for parents and local residents - officials ​have been asked to​ organi​se​ a venue​ for an event which unfortunately will now take place in the New Year​.

WARD GRANTS

All 3 wards have small funds available for local projects. Although there's the opportunity to carry forward the money to next year, we need to continue to identify and support good projects. The money is better helping to make things happen than sitting in the City's coffers! So if you're in a voluntary group or similar, don't hesitate to get in touch with ideas about how Ward funding might help.

THE COST OF RUNNING THOSE NEW TRAFFIC LIGHTS....

The new signals complexes at the junctions of Regent Farm Road, Hollywood Avenue and the Great North Road consume less energy combined than the previous site due to advances in LED technology whilst providing additional pedestrian crossing points, energy cost savings and carbon footprint reductions.

The previous signals at GNR / Regent Farm Road consumed 2.76kW per hour whilst bright and 1.93kW per hour when dimmed. Based on an average rate of £0.10 per kWhr and split of 12hrs bright & 12hrs dim, this equates to approx. £5.63 in electricity costs per day or £2054.22 per year.

The new signals at GNR / Regent Farm Road are estimated to cost £797.16 per year, while those at GNR / Hollywood Ave should be£854.10 per year, both on a similar basis.

The annual maintenance budget for traffic signals in Newcastle is still under negotiation, but the new LED equipment is guaranteed for 7 years with a projected life span of 10 years.

PARKLANDS WARD HEALTH AND WELLBEING CAMPAIGN PLANNED

Parklands Ward Committee has a small budget delegated to it by the NHS locally to improve everyone's well being. Some of it has already been used to help sports clubs and fitness groups improve outreach to young people. In addition we are also endeavouring to carry out some health education, the first fruits of which we are planning to be information delivered to every home in the ward.

At the suggestion of the two medical practices in the Ward, a postcard on the use of pharmacies, which originated within the NHS, has been reprinted. The Red Cross recently asked for help with a campaign to inform people about respite for carers. We are discussing other specific topics with the NHS regionally

PLANNING APPLICATION FOR NEWCASTLE RACECOURSE

At the meeting of the Planning Cttee held on 28 November the erection of a total of 14 houses in the north and south walled gardens of the racecourse was approved. It was also agreed that the Silver Ring and the Tote building be demolished. The approval for the houses, 8 in the north garden and 6 in the south, was agreed only on the casting vote of the Chair as some members of the cttee weren't happy with the design of the buildings.

Cllr Pauline Allen, representing the Parklands ward Cllrs, asked for a condition to be imposed that would prevent traffic, particularly construction traffic, turning right into the site from what is already a very busy road. The Cttee rejected this appeal. She also asked that steps be taken to ensure that consideration for local residents be given as regards noise, potential flooding or extra traffic. ​ ​Representatives of the Garden Centre also spoke at the meeting.
The application is now referred to the Secretary of State as the floor area of the proposal exceeds 1000 square metres and consists of inappropriate development on land allocated as Green Belt.

BRUNTON PARK FLOOD ALLEVIATION SCHEME UPDATE

You can keep up to date by accessing the dedicated website www.bruntonparkfloodalleviation.co.uk which is updated every two weeks.

There have been a few concerns raised regarding the site traffic and NWL is working with its contractors to make sure that they're operating in a safe and sensible manner. The realise the importance of sticking to the 15mph speed limit, and this has been reinforced to all Seymour employees and sub-contractors as well as no waiting/parking in the estate. They will be restricting the number of any large vehicles on site before 8.45am. Seymour are in the process of employing a Traffic Office to police Polwarth Drive between 7.00am and 8.00am, any delivery or site vehicles on the estate outside of working hours will be logged and potentially excluded from site if repeatedly turning up early.

There has been a specific increase in site traffic over the last couple of weeks with the delivery of materials and equipment for the construction of the foul storage shaft within the site compound. The earth removal wagons will continue to operate during the day but residents should notice the level of site traffic drop slightly now that construction on the compound has started. But not all incidents are dwon to the scheme. Ms S got in touch with the contact centre regarding another parked wagon outside her property. Meshi investigated immediately and found that this wagon had nothing to do with the scheme and was in fact involved with the off license nearby.

NWL is also aware that bogus callers operate in their supply area and tend to target areas where they're carrying out work. These people are only interested in stealing from customers' homes and claim to be employed by NWL or its contractors. It is important to check identification before letting anyone into your home. All of employees carry official identity cards and will be happy to confirm their identity. If in doubt please call the police or NWL customer centre on 0345 717 1100 to confirm they're genuine.

​REGIONAL AIRPORTS

Congratulations to ​former Parkland Councillor (Lord) John Shipley who will lead a group of experts exploring how regional airports can stay connected. He has been appointed chairman of a 15-strong National Connectivity Task Force examining the impact of a major review by the Airports Commission into extra runways in the south east on regional bases like Newcastle International Airport.


​LATEST POSTINGS

at ​www.newcastle-libdems.org.uk include

Cllrs Wendy Taylor, Greg Stone support Turkish Baths campaign
More green energy and more help to keep energy bills down
Europe: Idealism or Pragmatism?
The importance of Newcastle's pubs
Fears that feuding North-east super-council is stifling investment in the region
Self-serving leadership doesn't serve Newcastle well
The private sector boosting public services
Liberal Democrats have succeeded in championing civil liberties
The UK's contribution to the EU budget in perspective

TRAINING COURSE OPPORTUNITY FOR SMEs

SFEDI, in partnership with Age Inclusive Ltd and Ingeus are offering sole traders and small and medium sized enterprises in Northumberland, Tyne and Wear and County Durham an opportunity to engage with, free of charge, an innovative course worth £600 per person. The programme will develop an understanding of the opportunities in managing age diversity in your business and the skills to realise these opportunities including better relationships with customers and suppliers, access to more business opportunities and improved productivity in the business.

If you are interested in signing up or need more information please contact Cynthia Bartley on cynthia.bartley@ageinclusive.com or 07947 520 709 and she will make arrangements to meet with you to discuss further.


​MEANWHILE, IN THE HOUSE OF LORDS

Railways: East Coast Main Line (27 Nov 2014)
http://www.theyworkforyou.com/lords/?id=2014-11-27a.998.5&s=speaker%3A25000#g1002.2
Lord Shipley: My Lords, I welcome the Minister's announcement. It is the right decision. It delivers more services, greater investment, more trains and new routes. In addition, the trains for destinations on the east coast main line will be built in the north-east at Newton Aycliffe. The staff of East Coast do a magnificent job. Can the Minister confirm that they will all be guaranteed their jobs on their current conditions of service?

Scotland: Smith Commission (27 Nov 2014)
http://www.theyworkforyou.com/lords/?id=2014-11-27a.1042.0&s=speaker%3A25000#g1051.4
Lord Shipley: I ask the Minister a specific question about air passenger duty. I refer to paragraphs 86 and 95 of the Smith commission report.
Paragraph 86 gives the Scottish Parliament the power to charge tax on air passengers leaving Scottish airports, or it can decide to abolish it. That is the existing policy under the Scottish Parliament. However, the abolition of APD in Scotland but not in England...

Economic Leadership for Cities (11 Dec 2014)
http://www.theyworkforyou.com/lords/?id=2014-12-11a.1924.0&s=speaker%3A25000#g1924.2
Lord Shipley: My Lords, I am grateful to have this opportunity to debate the case for enabling economic leadership for cities in the UK. I am
grateful, too, to those noble Lords who will contribute today from all parts of this House. In particular, we look forward to hearing the
maiden speeches of three Members on these Benches, each of whom has had personal experience as a council leader..

Afterwards, John commented : The debate went well - it was a Thursday balloted debate which I won and it enabled three of our new peers with cities experience to make their maiden speeches. We are likely to try to set up a cross-party select committee in 2015 to take this further. The mood for devolution is strong - we now have to get the detail right.

​AND FINALLY

A Merry Christmas and best wishes for a happy, healthy, peaceful and prosperous New Year​ from all in Gosforth Liberal Democrats


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Gosforth eFocus is brought to you by
​David Down, Pauline Allen and ​Robin Ashby ​.
Liberal Democrat Councillor​s​ for Parklands Ward
Reporting email ​:​ david.down@newcastle-libdems.org.uk
Henry Gallagher, Peter Leggott and David Slesenger ​.
Liberal Democrat Councillors for East Gosforth
Reporting email : henry.gallagher@newcastle-libdems.org.uk​
Jackie Slesenger, Bill Shepherd and Nick Cott ​ ​
Liberal Democrat Councillors for West Gosforth ​
Reporting email : wgosforth@newcastle-libdems.org.uk

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