Newcastle Lib Dem Opposition response to controversial Blue House and Haddricksmill junction plans
Lib Dem Opposition statement on Newcastle City Council proposals for Blue House, Jesmond Dene Road, and Haddricksmill junctions
Cllr Greg Stone (Opposition transport spokesman) on behalf of Lib Dem councillors for North Jesmond, East Gosforth, West Gosforth, Dene, and Parklands wards
The Lib Dem Opposition regrets that the council did not afford an opportunity to allow local ward councillors to feed into this process to allow local knowledge and concerns to be taken into account, despite repeated requests. In the event we were briefed only a couple of hours before details appeared online via the Chronicle website.
It is accepted that Blue House and Haddricksmill roundabouts are heavily used junctions in the local road network and require improvement given their accident record. No change is not an attractive option. The previous Lib Dem council administration sought to improve Haddricksmill but at the time regional transport funding was not forthcoming.
Lib Dem councillors in the nearby wards (North Jesmond, East Gosforth, West Gosforth, Parklands, and Dene) recognise that the council's proposals are controversial and we will be holding a dialogue with and taking account of views expressed by local residents and groups during the consultation before making a formal response to it. Our initial views are as follows.
We are very concerned that the Blue House proposals are more radical and have a far bigger 'footprint' than many had envisaged. We share local anxiety that this has a disproportionate impact on the Town Moor - a unique jewel in our city's crown. The Moor is very dear to the hearts of the people of Newcastle and in our view the Council should not be constructing a major new junction on it. We would welcome clarity as to whether the Freemen support this proposal.
We understand that engineers have considered numerous options for this junction before proposing the current plan. If other feasible options have been identified, we feel the council should now share these with the Opposition and the public to enable a broader debate about their benefits and disbenefits.
Jesmond Dene Road
We have practical concerns about restrictions proposed for the Jesmond Dene Road / Osborne Road junction which risk displacement of additional traffic to Osborne Road and West Jesmond, particularly along Forsyth Road. We foresee similar concerns about any variants of the Blue House proposals which seek to restrict the right turn from Jesmond Dene Road towards Gosforth High Street, which could cause ratrunning traffic in High West Jesmond and South Gosforth.
We are largely supportive of the Haddricksmill proposals. These are a good starting point for consultation, but may require more work to address particular local concerns, such as access to the Hunters Road area and the prevention of ratrunning in residential streets during construction, e.g. the Stoneyhurst Road area of South Gosforth