Your views are sought on £2m street improvements in Jesmond and Ouseburn

A local group have been working with an urban design consultancy to turn ideas about improving the experience of getting around in Jesmond into a firm set of proposals. And now it’s up to you to have your say. Newcastle City Council has opened a public consultation exercise which will run from 16th October through to 30th November.

The ideas include new pedestrian crossings; protected cycleways; the decluttering of footways; and improving public spaces.

The project is motivated by people who want children to be able to walk, scoot or ride their bikes to school, be able to play out in the streets where they live and grow up breathing cleaner air. All of this requires a reduction in the amount of motor traffic on residential streets.

Detailed plans for the proposals can be found online at

Or, you can visit the display in Jesmond Library or phone 0191 277 7681 for more information.

There are proposals for Jesmond as well as Heaton and Ouseburn.

The money to make these street improvements has NOT come from council tax, it’s from a national Cycle City Ambition Fund. This funding has enabled Newcastle City Council to work more intensely in suburbs close to the city centre at ways to connect the investment they have already made and add local improvements to increase the pace of change in these neighbourhoods.

The council identified three project areas: Arthur’s Hill/Fenham, Jesmond and Ouseburn/Heaton areas. There will be approximately £1 million capital to spend in each project area by 2018.

Each project has a three-stage development process, which draws on the local and technical knowledge of a wide variety of stakeholders – elected members, grassroots community groups, cycling organisations, local businesses and service providers, as well as the council’s engineers, planners, urban designers and the CAF Programme Board. The stages are:

  • Stage 1: The reference group – Development of local community group to work on the project (completed)
  • Stage 2: Needs analysis – A series of community engagement processes to capture the needs and issues people experience in their neighbourhoods (completed)
  • Stage 3: Turning the needs into proposals – Co-design with the community to develop concept design options within the scope of the project.

NEW: Walk, run or cycle over Armstrong Bridge on Google Street View

Barriers on Armstrong Bridge mean the Google Street View camera car has to come to a grinding halt. This means there’s no way of taking a virtual journey across the bridge on your computer, tablet or smartphone. Until now, that is.

The webmaster for has linked together a number of 360-degree “sphere” photos and, by clicking forwards or backwards in the usual Street View manner, you can now access Armstrong Bridge from the comfort of your connectivity package, spinning your point-of-view to your heart’s content.

In the fullness of time these spheres will become a seamless part of Google Street View.

Jesmond Dene Photography Competition 2017

Friends of Jesmond Dene with Neil Atkinson Photography and Digitalab JESMOND DENE PHOTOGRAPHY COMPETITION 2017 Competition Information and Rules

1. Duration: 10am 1st October 2017 – 10pm 31st October 2017.

2. Judge: Neil Atkinson, professional photographer, tutor and writer.

3. Entrance: free of charge with online registration.

4. Categories: 16 or under, 17 or older.

5. Prizes in each category: 1st Prize: A photography workshop with Neil Atkinson (value £95) plus a framed print of the winning image from Digitalab (value £75); 2nd Prize £30; 3rd Prize £15

6. No cash alternative is available and the Judge’s decision is final

7. 16 or under – Adult Supervision: A parent or guardian must be responsible for the registration of a 16 or under participant and any email address and/or telephone number provided must be those of the adult and not the 16 or under participant

8. Submission of images: Online via our Facebook page or post/deliver to: Ouseburn Park Visitor Centre (Ouseburn Park Visitor Centre, Red Walk, Jesmond Dene, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE7 7BQ).

9. Copyright: The photographer retains copyright to his/her image but grants Friends of Jesmond Dene, Neil Atkinson Photography and Digitalab permission to use the image for any publicity purpose, with printed credit, at any time.

10. Any submission must be the work of the named participant.

11. Status: Only submissions by amateur photographers are permitted. The competition is not open to professional or semi-professional photographers or members of their immediate families.

12. Photo Walk on Launch Date: 10am 1st October 2017 – meet at Ouseburn Park Visitor Centre (Red Walk, Jesmond Dene, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE7 7BQ). All Under-16 participants must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

13. All participants and accompanying adults accept full responsibility for their own personal safety whilst taking part in this competition.

14. Communications and Enquiries: Via Facebook page.

15. Condition of Entry: By entering this competition, all participants and their parents/guardians, are deemed to accept the above rules.

Jesmond Dene glows green as part of new OS mapping to get people outdoors

A Government initiative to make it easier for people to locate and access greenspaces has launched today with the release of a new database and interactive digital map identifying accessible recreational and leisure greenspace in Great Britain. And, naturally, Jesmond Dene is one of the “green lungs” that can be zoomed into on the new map.

Delivered by Ordnance Survey, the free map contains data from OS and other sources, and can be used immediately, for free, through the popular leisure mapping app and online service, OS Maps. This comprehensive map of Great Britain’s greenspaces is also available as an open dataset, called OS Open Greenspace, for communities, businesses and developers to create products and services that will encourage healthier and greener lifestyles.

OS CEO, Nigel Clifford, says: “Geospatial data can transform Governments, businesses and communities for the better. We see that through our work in Great Britain and internationally, and we’re excited to be one of those at the forefront leading this and making contributions of consequence and benefit. I’m particularly proud of this product as it delivers valuable information to the public, via OS Maps, enabling people and families across Great Britain to discover the greenspaces near them. In addition to this, we’re also releasing OS Open Greenspace, providing a freely available dataset for anyone to access. I am excited to see how people experiment and work with the data and look forward to seeing new products and services to help encourage an active Great Britain.”

Since the Greenspace map was reaffirmed as a commitment in 2015, OS has worked in collaboration with a large number of Non-Government Organisations and Government partners to compile the OS Open Greenspace dataset and digital map. Accurately depicted within the dataset is the location and extent of recreational and leisure features and, for larger sites, their access points. Example features included in the data is every public park in Great Britain, every play space, playing field, golf course, public garden, bowling green, allotment and more.

Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson said: “Greenspaces are a vital part of our landscape and this new database and online map will make it easier for people across the country to access greenspaces and lead healthier lives.

“With the completion of this mapping project, we have delivered on an important commitment and shown yet again how innovation can improve everyday lives.”

OS has also produced OS MasterMap (OSMM) Greenspace, a public-sector version of the greenspace map made available through the Public-Sector Mapping Agreement and One Scotland Mapping Agreement. Aimed at giving the public-sector accurate and up-to-date geospatial data to improve planning, analysis and decision making, OSMM Greenspace contains the location of all publicly accessible and non-accessible greenspaces. It is hoped the dataset will prove instrumental in helping the public sector create and manage health and wellbeing strategies, active travel plans and various environmental initiatives that include air quality, biodiversity, housing regeneration and flood resilience.

Motorists parking on Benton Bank: if you litter, you harm wildlife and could be fined

In recent weeks there has been a great deal of litter dropped from cars parked on Benton Bank and underneath the Cradlewell bypass on Benton Bridge. Volunteers are spending a great deal of time cleaning up after these inconsiderate motorists. (There’s also a litter problem in the Dene itself, of course.)

Looking on the bright side, Newcastle City Council may soon get new powers to fine litter-lout car passengers. The central government has released a new Litter Strategy for England, which includes plans to fine drivers for litter thrown from their vehicles by passengers. Similar to rules in London, motorists could soon receive penalty notices when litter is dropped from their cars – even if it was discarded by passengers.

The plans have been drawn up by environment department Defra, the Department for Transport and communities department DCLG.

Transport minister John Hayes said: “Litter is a major and costly problem to deal with. It makes our roads look messy, can threaten wildlife and even increase the risk of flooding by blocking drains.

The government has launched a consultation on the proposed enforcement measures. It said guidance will be issued to councils to accompany any new enforcement powers.

This guidance for councils will also update England’s “binfrastructure” through creative new designs and better distribution of public litter bins, making it easier for people to discard rubbish.

There will also be an attempt to create a “green generation” by educating children to lead the fight against litter.

Northumberland Wildlife Trust at the Park

Northumberland Wildlife Trust at the Park, Pet’s Corner, Jesmond Dene, Wed 19th April, 10:00am – 3:30pm

Drop by to find out more about the work we do at NWT to protect our region’s wildlife – and have a go at some fun seasonal games and activities.

Free event but donations are welcome to cover the cost of materials. Dress appropriately for the outdoors. All children under 18 must be accompanied by an adult.

Future of Newcastle’s Parks, Jesmond Dene, 11th March

Because of forthcoming budget cuts Newcastle City Council is currently running a consultation exercise regarding the future of Newcastle’s parks, and one of the events will be held at the Jesmond Dene Visitor Centre. The Newcastle Parks Engagement programme started on 13th February runs through until 21st April and visits Jesmond Dene on 11th March.

Parks are a critical part of the city’s green infrastructure, and an important attraction when it comes to appealing to new visitors, new residents, businesses and students, says the programme.

But, there’s likely to be less money to fund them in the years ahead.

“Over the past seven years, our parks budget has reduced by over 90 percent,” says a statement from the council, “meaning that finding new ways of financing and running the city’s parks is essential.”

The council stresses it want to keep parks in public ownership, and that they should remain free to use.

“We have been working with the National Trust, benefitting from their experience of preserving our national heritage and parks, to help us work out a way forward,” says the council. “In particular, we have been researching the possibility of transferring the operation, delivery and maintenance of a large proportion of the city’s parks, and potentially allotments, to a new Charitable Trust.”

The council says this is a “work in progress”, and the engagement programme aims to hear YOUR views.

You can started by visiting, and completing a short online survey. This will direct you to a more in-depth discussion at: The ‘Explore’ section of this website is due to go live on Monday, 13th March. This part of the engagement programme is being delivered in association with Newcastle University’s Open Lab.

11th March, 11am to 3pm, Jesmond Dene Visitor Centre

Jesmond appears on jacket printed with street grids from New York, Paris, Barcelona, Amsterdam, Berlin and Sydney

Showers Pass of Portland, Oregon, has produced a waterproof cycling jacket that features retroreflective street grids of eleven cities. Because of the complexity of the patterns each Atlas jacket is unique, but will still feature streets from Portland, New York, Washington DC, Paris, Barcelona, Amsterdam, Berlin, Sydney and Taipei.

London is also featured, as is Newcastle upon Tyne. Why Newcastle? Showers Pass president Kyle Ranson was born and raised in Jesmond, and used to play in Jesmond Dene.

“This was one of those fun projects that I got into way more than time really permitted. The entire staff thought I had gone nuts. It literally took weeks to patch together all the cities to look like one map.”

He added: “We wanted a jacket that supports an active outdoor lifestyle, stands up to bad weather, and offers a stylish way to stay visible to traffic at night.”

The street grid pattern on the jacket is printed with retro-reflective ink. The ink is a dull grey in normal light, but a bright silver when hit by car headlights.

And here’s the map of Newcastle – and Jesmond Dene – that’s featured on the jacket: