Council table unpopular plans for Blue House roundabout
Newcastle City Council has opened a consultation on plans to replace Blue House roundabout with a new scheme that residents are calling an “utterly grim” and “vastly elaborate and overblown scheme.”
The planned redevelopment of Blue House roundabout is required, the council say, for safety reasons.
Plans tabled by the council on July 20th would see a significantly larger roundabout, controlled by traffic lights, replace the current smaller – infamous – roundabout. This new roundabout would encroach on Town Moor land currently owned by the Freemen of Newcastle.
“We have a responsibility to ensure that the Blue House junction becomes safer, and that it does not constrain growth (particularly housing/employment growth in North Tyneside and Northumberland in addition to our city) so we need to make changes at this location,” the council say.
The proposed plans, drawn up by planners based at AECOM, an engineering firm with offices in Newcastle and Leeds – the latter where the plans were produced – have not been warmly welcomed by residents.
Of 107 comments published on the project’s consultation page at the time of publication, just seven are marked as positive. Only three of those actually contain comments in favour of the idea, with other respondents complaining that they had marked comments as positive by mistake.
One response on the council’s consultation page called the plans “an obscenely large roundabout”. Newcastle City Council acknowledge in their introduction to the plans that “the design we are proposing is a much bigger roundabout than the current layout, with traffic lights controlling access to the system.”
Many responses on the council’s website and social media focus around the impact the plans will have on the Town Moor. One tweet claimed that more than 100 trees will be lost if the plans, as tabled, go ahead.
— Michael Norton (@drmnorton) July 25, 2016
Resident bodies and lobby organisations have also reacted badly to the plans. The Newcastle Cycling Campaign called the mooted changes “fundamentally wrong”.
Local resident Simon Ross told JesmondLocal “I am somewhat stunned by a proposal to create a motorway style junction in the middle of a well used public park next to a residential area.”
The proposed scheme would create four traffic lanes along Jesmond Dene Road between the junctions with Osborne Road and with Moorfield, up from the current three lanes.
Were the plans to go ahead, the council would swap land it currently owns in Kenton for acreage on the Town Moor that would allow it to build the new, larger roundabout, it was revealed in documentation submitted in support of the plans.