New proposals for Gosforth High Street

The proposals, which show improved pedestrian facilities, revised parking restrictions and reduced speed limits have been developed through discussions with the council, community groups and local traders.

The council have worked closely with the groups to look at implementing phased solutions to traffic issues in the Gosforth area, to complement ongoing work as a potential alternative to no stopping restrictions, such as red routes. The groups include SPACE for Gosforth, local businesses, traders,  and the Chair of the National Transport Planning Society, John Dales, who is an expert in street design.

Cllr Ged Bell, Cabinet Member for Investment and Development at the council said: “This is a great example of local businesses and community members working with us to help shape their local community.

“Gosforth High Street is a busy shopping area, with the potential to be so much better. The levels of air pollution, congestion and safety need to be put right which is why we have wanted to make improvements to this area.

“The proposal for red routes is still on the table, but the council is committed to working in co-operation with residents and other stakeholders to deliver decent
neighbourhoods. We are prioritising a phased approach to improvements and welcomed the approach from SPACE and the traders to work together.”

Local West Gosforth ward councillor, Nick Cott, organised the first meeting of the traders and SPACE (Safe Pedestrian and Cycling Environment) for Gosforth and encouraged them to approach the council. Cllr Cott said: “Gosforth High Street serves our local community and it is important that the council recognises the perspectives of local businesses and residents. I am pleased there have been meetings to look at devising alternatives to the red route plan. What has come forward so far offers tangible benefits in addressing some of the critical issues facing our High Street at present.”

Rupert Weare from community group SPACE for Gosforth said: “As regular users of Gosforth High Street we are acutely aware of the issues it faces, both from competing shopping centres and the internet, and from the mass of traffic that passes through the High Street each day.

“We want Gosforth High Street to be an attractive and vibrant destination that is easy to access, and where everyone feels safe whatever their needs and however they travel. In particular this means improving air quality, slowing down traffic and giving priority to people on foot both along, and across the High Street.”

Local business owner Duncan Young of Sanderson Young said: “I’ve been trading in Gosforth for years and believe that the street as a destination could be better. Like many local businesses, I am firmly against making the street more of a through route rather than somewhere people would want to come to.

“Frankly I think the council deserve credit because rather than steamroller something through they’ve engaged with us as traders and are listening to our views. Working with the council and the community group means everyone has different opinions but we’re listening to each other, sharing ideas and working together.

“The proposals released today are only the first stage and we’re looking forward to continuing to work together to improve our local area. If others read this and want to get involved we would encourage them to do so.”

As well as the new plans, the council have also confirmed they are upgrading the traffic lights along the Great North Road. The new intelligent light system will ensure that traffic lights are connected and sequenced to smooth out traffic flow which will have a positive impact on air quality.

Cllr Ged Bell added: “We recognise that many people will have different opinions about changes to the city’s streets and roads. Particularly during roadworks many people won’t be fans but once the work has been completed, the changes are often welcomed such as at Cowgate. We will continue to make changes to our highways to improve safety and make them more resilient and efficient, which will help improve the quality of life for the people of this city.”

The work on traffic lights has begun and the first phase of the works on side streets will start after the consultation process and could be complete by Christmas 2016.

The council have also confirmed they’ve been reviewing the speed limits for the entire Great North Road and they have released a consultation on changing speed limits alongside this.
If people want to be involved in the next phase of developing proposals they should contact the council or SPACE for Gosforth.

The full proposals are:

  • To raise the side-street ends that run along the High Street to be level with the pavement, giving people who are shopping or walking along the High Street clear priority at all junctions up and down the street. This will help to ensure that people travelling on foot do not feel secondary to motor traffic, and that people pushing buggies or in wheelchairs or mobility scooters will have much more pleasant journeys without the constant hassle of bumping up and down whenever there’s a street meeting the High Street. It will also reduce the speeds of traffic turning into local side streets, making the High Street safer for people on foot.
  • To revise some parking restrictions and replace some double yellow lines with parking. This will provide more than 20 additional car parking spaces and help alleviate issues of people parking in residential parking zones. The proposals will also provide loading facilities at the High Street end of Elmfield Road. This will replace the existing Co-Wheels
  • A 20mph speed limit from the vicinity of The Grove in the south to Salters Road in the north will be included in a review of speed limits issued at the same time as this consultation.

 

The new proposals have been developed over the last few months and are now ready for ‘technical’ consultation which will last for 21 days. A plan of the proposals and information on how to comment can be accessed at www.newcastle.gov.uk/gti

To get involved with SPACE for Gosforth details are on the website www.spaceforgosforth.com - Twitter @space4gosforth and Facebook space.gosforth.

People can share their views on these proposals with the council by writing to gosforthti@newcastle.gov.uk