Monthly Archives: February 2015

DIY Streets – February 2015 update

We’re sorry to say that things are still a bit slow moving with our DIY Streets project – it will now probably be early March before we have the latest draft designs, which will be published on this website, displayed in Ouseburn Farm and opened up for comment.

We’re waiting on the Council for these designs, who as mentioned last time are busy with a number of other schemes across the city, but they have carried out technical surveys of the area now, so have got all the necessary information to hand.

In terms of Stepney Bank, the replies we’ve had have mostly been in favour of the two-way design, so this is the one we will develop. Thanks for all your comments.

As a reminder, the other changes people have asked for through the project are listed below. We won’t have enough money to do all of these so we’ll need to prioritise, but we have been asking the Council to include Ouseburn in future bids for funding in an attempt to cover everything.

  • Create a public space at the north end of Stepney Road, next to Ernest, so that pedestrians have a much safer way to cross, and to make an attractive entrance to the area
  • Create a build-out mid-way along Stepney Road, to slow traffic down and give some extra footpath space
  • Improve the junction of Stepney Road and Stepney Bank to make it safer for pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles
  • Create raised tables on Lime Street by Seven Stories and on the corner with Stepney Bank, to slow traffic down and create a friendlier environment, particularly for families with children visiting local attractions
  • Improve footpath and road surfaces throughout the focus streets (Stepney Road, Stepney Bank and Lime Street)

In the meantime we’re giving some thought to how to create a sense of having arrived somewhere different on the focus streets – where you can enjoy being on foot or bike, and slow down if you’re in a vehicle. The general look of a place can be a big help with this, and while the Council have a fairly limited range of materials they can use on the roads, we’re hoping to have some Ouseburn related shapes on the pavements, planted containers, colour on bollards and buildings and the like – please get in touch if you have any ideas about this, or would like to have something on or outside your building that you could help take care of.

Some other things you might be interested in…

North-South cycle route: The Council want to identify a preferred cycle route through the Valley between City Stadium to the north and Hadrian’s Way on the Quayside to the south. Really we want all of the roads in the area to feel safe enough to cycle along, but if we need to pick a route we’d suggest Portland Road South, Stepney Road, (option for an off-road short cut here down through the woodland paths), Stepney Bank, down past the Farm, over the wooden footbridge to Foundry Lane, across at the Byker Bank lights, along Ford Street or Hume Street depending on how things settle down with the Malings development, to Maling Street and out onto Quayside Road. If you have other ideas please let us know.

Car parking: The Council are in the process of carrying out a review of car-parking in the area, and some consultation will be starting soon. We’ll keep you posted.


Clean Green Ouseburn – February 2015

We’ve been very lucky with the weather for our Clean Green Ouseburn project, and the relatively mild autumn and winter has enabled us to get on faster than we had hoped.

The hedge laying has been more or less completed now. We have also been busy coppicing the hedge we didn’t lay so it creates a denser, bushier layer that will provide more cover and better nesting possibilities for small birds, more blossom for bees and other insects – and eventually more hips, haws and sloes for wildlife and people.

Some of our volunteers have been working hard to clear the soil and mud that floods had washed onto paths and paved areas during the past few years. The path going up through the Metro viaduct arches is much wider now with its full width uncovered.

We have also thinned some of the woodland so you can see ahead on the paths and so the bulbs and plants under the trees get enough light to grow, creating a greener and more bio-diverse ground layer.

We’ve made a great start on the new path from the end of Stepney Road to the orchard and fields, and to Stepney Bank via the Arch 4 car park. We still have a lot more to do in these areas, and around the river.

Amongst other items, an extraordinary number of tyres have been retrieved from the fields and woodlands by our volunteers, sometimes from areas where we had already cleared tyres away just last summer. All kinds of rubbish has been dumped in the valley, and some of it is hazardous to people, pets, and wildlife as well as looking a mess and attracting rats. There are some litter bins in the valley – and the Byker waste and recycling centre isn’t far away.

A HUGE THANK YOU to everyone who has joined in so far – you’ve achieved so much!

We’re really looking forward to planting new trees, shrubs, and plants over the next couple of months – as well as seeing what plants pop up where the ground between trees now gets more light.

We’d love to see more people joining us to do it. Even if you can just manage an hour or two. Lots of people giving an hour or two of their time can make a huge difference to Ouseburn Valley. Sign up for a session via our online form or email or text/phone.