Parklands Ward is in the north of Gosforth, to the north of the Metro line and either side of the Great North Road, to the east of the A1, up to the northern boundary of the city. Following boundary changes in May 2018, it includes Garden Village, which was part of the East Gosforth ward.
At the latest elections to Newcastle City Council in May 2021, Pauline Allen was returned with 1927 votes, a majority of 1079 over the Conservatives, after a 5-way contest
COVID Restrictions Information
From midnight Monday 4 January 2021 England entered a new national lockdown.
With restrictions changing frequently, we are publishing regular updates on local COVID restrictions via Parklands eFocus.
To receive Parklands eFocus regularly (more news, more quickly) in addition to the regular Parklands Focus through your door, which is produced and delivered without cost to taxpayers, email "subscribe" and your post code to email@example.com
UK Government National Lockdown for England (from midnight Monday 4 January 2021): National lockdown: Stay at Home - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
UK Government National Lockdown for England - detailed guidance (downloadable leaflet): NationalLockdownGuidance.pdf (publishing.service.gov.uk)
UK Government National Lockdown for England - summary poster: COVID-19_England_Lockdown_Poster__Digital___1_.pdf (publishing.service.gov.uk)
Covid-19 Roadmap - The UK Government has outlined a roadmap out of the current national lockdown across England. The first stages are due to commence on 8 March and continue in stages until at least 21 June. A summary is presented below. Full details of the Roadmap are available at: COVID-19 Response - Spring 2021 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Local Exercise During Lockdown - The Parklands Environmental & Historical Walk
Looking for a local walk during lockdown?
Why not try this circular route around North Gosforth - starting & finishing at Three Mile Inn?
Details and route available by following the link:
A commentary on the route written by Robin is available to download as well:
Hope you enjoy your walk!
About the Parklands Ward Focus Team
Following on from their predecessors of some 45 years, your three Liberal Democrats Focus Team councillors (seen here with former Lord Mayor David Down) work hard to represent you. Their promise is "service and action all year round" so please contact them with any queries or issues :
Cllr Pauline Allen firstname.lastname@example.org
Pauline was first elected to Newcastle City Council in 2004
Cllr Robin Ashby email@example.com
Robin was first elected to Newcastle City Council in 2014
Cllr Christine Morrissey firstname.lastname@example.org
Christine was first elected to Newcastle City Council in 2019
Currently, councillor surgeries are suspended due to COVID-19 regulations.
Normally, you can meet your councillors in person at their monthly surgeries at:
Northern Rugby Football Club (ground floor) - 1st Saturday of each month - 11.30am to 12noon
Gosforth High Street - 1st Saturday of each month - 10.00am to 12 noon
Follow us on Twitter @parklands_ward
Follow us on Facebook : Parklands Ward Liberal Democrats
Marking Small Business Saturday - "shout outs" from Liberal Democrats' councillors for some of the many excellent local businesses in Newcastle.Article: Dec 4, 2021
To mark Small Business Saturday, Liberal Democrats have been out on Gosforth High Street - and have been highlighting some of the many great local businesses in the City (seen here are councillors representing 3 of the 4 wards covering Gosforth.)
Robin Ashby, who speaks for Newcastle LIberal Democrats on business matters, said "If we don't cherish our local businesses - be they in the centre of town, or in the district centres like Chillingham Road, Wansbeck Road or Brunton Park - they are at risk after the gruelling trading conditions of the pandemic, and the switch to online retailing. And once they've gone, they've gone.
Don't sell vital vaccine manufacturing centre demand Liberal Democrats - it's short-sighted penny pinching just as latest virus variant shows its strategic importanceArticle: Nov 29, 2021
The Liberal Democrats have demanded that Boris Johnson immediately steps in to halt the sale of the Vaccine Manufacturing Innovation Centre at Harwell near Oxford, describing the move as "short-sighted penny pinching."
It was reported in the Financial Times this morning that the centre is being sold off to recoup some of the money spent by the Government during the Covid crisis.
Article: Nov 15, 2021
The COVID-19 crisis powerfully illustrated how unpredictable life can be and how essential it is that the social security system functions as a true lifeline when people need it the most.
However, instead of supporting the people who need it most, the Chancellor of the Exchequer has acknowledged that low-income households will feel "real pain" as the cost of living is set to increase faster than benefit payments. It looks like we are now being hit with a perfect storm of the cut in universal credit, the end of furlough, inflation and energy bills increases.
Article: Nov 13, 2021
As more cuts and council tax hikes are set to whittle away residents' services for another year, the release of the Council's budget proposals have branded as "Groundhog Day" and "Labour's cuts, Labour's choices" by Opposition councillors in Newcastle ,
Under more than a decade of Labour rule, the residents of Newcastle have watched their City struggle to deliver the services and support they expect. Opposition councillors remain concerned that the Labour administration remain focused on the impact of the Government's funding cuts, and neglect to look at how their efforts compare to neighbouring authorities.
Article: Oct 6, 2021
A Liberal Democrats proposal to help local people suffering from plagues of rats has been kicked out by the controlling Labour group in Newcastle.
Newcastle's Official Opposition had wanted all options for reducing or suspending charges for pest control, including for mice and rats - with a minimum charge of £84 - to be examined to support households budgets for as long as is necessary to get the issue under control.
Article: Oct 6, 2021
"Today is a rotten day for the least well off people of Newcastle. It's a bleak day says the Tory peer who devised Universal Credit," according to Cllr Robin Ashby, who speaks for Newcastle Liberal Democrats on financial inclusion.
"The Government does not seem to understand that we cannot have a full recovery from the Covid crisis if families are struggling to make ends meet.
Article: Sep 11, 2021
Councillor Robin Ashby proposed a motion to Newcastle City Council on 1st September 2021 on this topic, the full text of which is below
Afterwards he said : "I proposed this motion not because Newcastle City Council has done nothing about the Government's proposals on further changes to the planning system - I shudder to use their word "reform" because in my view such a word implies improvements, many of which are illusory.
It has. It has made a detailed submission already.
But we need to keep key matters at the forefront of public debate, and ensure that local people understand what could be taken away from them.
There is a One Core Strategy in place for Tyneside up to 2030, which was subject to an extensive public enquiry at Gateshead Civic Centre, and offers some safeguards. But what happens after that expires?
The proposals, which may be confirmed as a Bill in the autumn, are causing huge concerns to residents in areas of major construction like Great Park, and in villages like Hazlerigg fearing encroachment. Just east across the A1 in my ward of Parklands 168 houses have been built where formerly there was agriculture, and long term residents fear there will be a grab for another large field to the south.
This will add to the hollowing out of Newcastle's central areas and puts yet more pressure on roads already heavily trafficked, schools with shrinking catchment areas and other facilities. The City Council's joint venture Tynexe, on whose Board I am one of your representatives, is doing some valuable brown field development, but reclamation costs are significant and delaying. It's so much easier for building companies to dig up fields on the fringes of the City.
What's being discussed will reduce the voice of local people in the face of development conglomerates who will have a greater presumption that their plans will be implemented. They are currently turning in vast profits - almost a billion pounds a year in one case of a company which is active here. And they have a significant voice in the corridors of power.
It's proposed that the 20 biggest cities in the country, including Newcastle, will have to boost their housebuilding permissions by over a third. Local plans, established locally and subject to democratic debate and scrutiny, take into account housing need, as we currently do here. An arbitrary increase of 35%, as is being discussed, does nothing for us except the loss of carbon-absorbing green belt and local control. And yet there are already vast swathes in the north of the city under construction - but without much supporting infrastructure.
Upper, Middle and Lower Callerton have, or have in the pipeline, planning permissions for 3650 new homes. That's a significant increase in the case of Upper Callerton, and it's reported that there will be a new primary school and potentially a GP's surgery. There is already pressure on the schools under construction on the Great Park, which have taken many years to materialise.
97 hectares - 240 acres in the old money - will go from what was our green belt.
Note that word "potentially". There has been potentially a GP's surgery on the Great Park for years, but it's still not there. There's potentially been a town centre for more than a decade, but only a handful of units are occupied. The rents are sky high. I wonder if there's some cause and effect here, including a desire to for change of use.
So if the Conservative ministers have been listening to their dinner companions at Party fundraisers, there'll be many more houses built on green fields in future. Little is said about rehabilitating or repurposing housing stock in areas that already have shops and schools and medical facilities and public transport.
There are an estimated 1 million homes nationally that have already been agreed but which remain unbuilt. It is not the councils or the communities that are at fault, it is the developers and landowners who have been allowed to inflate their prices to create undeliverable schemes or sit on land for an increased resale value. They can game the system by submitting planning applications they know will fail, as a way of establishing, through the appeal system, what's the most they can get out of the process. They then blame "the system" for the inevitable delays.
One of the ideas being discussed is to do away with Section 106 agreements which have been of some offsetting value for infrastructure. The Liberal Democrats would support moves to reduce the ability for the hoarding of land by introducing some form of land value capture, which would benefit the local community whilst still allowing a profit for landowners.
It is believed that the Tories will use the platform of their Party Conference next month to parade their "developers' charter". So I invited Council again to send them a clear message - "listen to the people".
'Winter of Discontent' looms as Tory failures endanger Christmas, food supplies and small businessesArticle: Sep 8, 2021
During a visit to Newcastle Liberal Democrats Spokesperson for the Treasury Christine Jardine MP told Robin Ashby (pictured) of her fears arising from the series of crises that are erupting under the Conservative Government,
"The Government has spent months lurching from crisis to crisis, and the consequences will be felt by normal families as we head towards Christmas," she said.
"From driver shortages to the lack of food on shelves, to huge backlogs in our NHS and courts, it is clear Boris Johnson is steering us towards another Winter of Discontent.
"His Government is wilfully exacerbating the problem by pulling away furlough and taking away the Universal Credit uplift, which will hit the worst off in society hardest.
"Small businesses are laden with debt they took on to survive the crisis, but may be extremely hard pressed to repay it. Further closures and job losses in the retail sector look inevitable.
"This all comes amid rising Covid cases as children return to schools. History tells us this dithering, incompetent Government will fail to get a grip of the situation once again.
"Local government like Newcastle, with reduced funding and more responsibilities, will struggle to make up the shortfall. In the short term, Prime Minister Johnson should retire in favour of someone more competent, and in the medium term the country must throw out the Tories."
Article: Sep 1, 2021
The Labour Party has agreed to support a Liberal Democrats motion on Afghans at the City Council tonight (see bottom)
Cllr Robin Ashby will move it, saying :
Lord Mayor - I am delighted that this is a cross party motion and that Cllr Karen Kilgour, who is also the City Council's Armed Forces Champion will second it. This sends a very important message to our armed forces and the Afghan people we are welcoming - including the collection that you have agreed to be made tonight for refugees.
Protecting the public's say in the planning process - Liberal Democrats to propose motion to Newcastle City CouncilArticle: Aug 28, 2021
Councillor Robin Ashby will propose to the next meeting of Newcastle City Council that :
· The publication by Government of the White Paper, 'Planning for the Future' on 6 August 2020, which set out proposals on reforms to the planning process for the future.
· That the vast majority of planning applications are given the go ahead by local authority planning committees, with permission granted to around 9 out of 10 applications.