Author Archives: Janet E Davis

Conserving Ouseburn Valley

Which is your favourite Ouseburn Valley building? And your least favourite?

Which buildings in the Ouseburn do you think are important to keep because they are vital to the character of the area, and which ones could be demolished, or could be redeveloped in a sympathetic way?

The Lower Ouseburn Conservation Area Management Plan (published in 2004), which protects the important architectural and cultural heritage in the Valley, needs to be updated. To help with this, Ouseburn Futures is asking people who love the Valley for their views about which buildings in the Conservation Area and around the edge have architectural and/or historical merit and are therefore important to preserve. We’ve looked at over 100 buildings and made our own assessment of the value of each of them.

Now we would like to hear your views whether you agree or disagree with the group’s assessment, to help us inform the strategy for the Conservation Area.

Start with Conserving buildings in Ouseburn Valley overview – which includes info on how to use the survey tool.

If you are accessing this website using a mobile device – phones or tablets – you should find this direct link to our consultation on the Placechangers website works better for you:!/2/overview

Please remember to save your responses before leaving the survey pages! Thank you very much for taking time to take part.

Ouseburn Valley - view of the farm fields and Byker Bridge.

Neighbourhood Forum and Area application

Ouseburn Futures has submitted an application to the City Council for the Ouseburn Valley Neighbourhood Forum to be approved, alongside an application for the Area to be covered by the Forum to be approved. This is the process we have to follow, as set out in the Localism Act 2011. Once the Neighbourhood Forum and its formal Area are approved, we can then start talking to our members, and to the people living beside the Valley, working in and visiting the Valley, about developing a Neighbourhood Plan for the Ouseburn Valley.

You can see the applications on this page on the Council’s website:

and this page tells you more about Neighbourhood Planning:

The Council is now carrying out formal consultation about the applications, as required by the Localism Act. We would be very pleased if all the members of Ouseburn Futures could write to express their views – hopefully to support our applications!

The closing date is February 29th 2016.  You can send your comments to or write to the City Council at Newcastle City Council, Planning Policy, 9th Floor, Civic Centre, Barras Bridge, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 8QH.

Why are we applying to have a Neighbourhood Forum for the Ouseburn Valley?

Ouseburn Valley - view of the farm fields and Byker Bridge.

Ouseburn Valley – view of the farm fields and Byker Bridge.

Ouseburn Futures was charged over 2 years ago by Newcastle City Council with taking the lead in the implementation and monitoring of the Ouseburn Regeneration Plan. A key part of this is the physical development of the Valley. Ouseburn Futures has been happy to take the lead on looking strategically at development in the Valley, along with local councillors, and with support from council officers when they are able to.

This theme is important as one of the main unique selling points of the Ouseburn Valley is its physical character and its mix of uses. Too many poor developments or single use developments would destroy the vibrancy and attraction of the area, and lead to decline.

There is a long way to go before the regeneration of the valley is completed. We estimate that there are about 150 sites and buildings in Ouseburn, of which about a third remain to be developed. These include some larger sites whose impact on the area would be significant – for good or for bad – as well as numerous smaller sites and buildings, some of which have planning permission.

View across the Village Green to Lime Street.

View across the Village Green to Lime Street.

The Urban Core Plan and the current Ouseburn Regeneration Plan set high level strategic frameworks for development in the Ouseburn – mainly based on the mixed use Live/Work/Play/Learn themes – but there is not enough detail to be translated into any meaningful guidance for developers or owners of land. A Neighbourhood Plan would help us to provide that detailed thinking, and would have to be taken into account by the City Council in making planning decisions, and by developers in making proposals for developments in the area. It does not bind either party, and does not mean we decide what is going to be developed, but allows us to have influence over planning decisions in our area, by informing decisions about planning applications. Unwanted developments would be less likely, and good development would be more likely.

Tanners street trial 2015

Tanners street trial 2015

We also like the idea because a Neighbourhood Forum and Plan provides a good vehicle for engaging people. This in turn means not only having an influence in what happens in their area, but building community and social capital, and building links between people in different sectors, types of organisation and communities. We also envisage the spin-off benefit that it could lead to a stronger Ouseburn-wide community, able to work together to resolve issues before any become conflicts, to provide more support to each other (not-for-profit organisations, businesses and residents), and to work together on projects to provide good things for the whole community, across the whole Ouseburn Valley.

What do you think? Will you support the applications and support our ambition to involve as many people as possible in the development of the Valley? Please tell the Council what you think (and copy us in at ) by February 29th.

Ouseburn Viaduct.

Ouseburn Viaduct.

If the Neighbourhood Forum and Area applications are approved, we will then be able to consult people about what should go into the Neighbourhood Plan. The views of people who live around the Area will be as important as those of people who live within the Area specified in our application. We will also plan to talk to people in the businesses, community organisations and other workplaces in and around the Valley (including schools), and to visitors to the area. We will do this in a wide variety of ways so as to make it as easy as possible for everyone who wants to to get involved, and in a fun way!

But remember that to vote on the final shape of the Neighbourhood Plan, you will need to be a member of the Ouseburn Valley Neighbourhood Forum – do if you are not a member yet, join up now! Here’s the application form for individuals, and here is the one for organisations.


We’re looking for a minute taker!

Ouseburn Futures Coordinating Group is looking for a minute taker.

Ouseburn Futures Coordinating Group meets approximately every 6 weeks, about 8 times a year. Meetings are held weekdays at tea time, usually between 5.30 and 7.00 p.m.

We are looking for someone who has:

  • Experience taking minutes.
  • An understanding of issues relevant to the work of the group; planning, regeneration, environment, creative industries and the local economy, etc.
  • Experience of working with volunteers and community groups.
  • Must know the Ouseburn Valley and will probably be currently involved or have been previously involved in activities in the valley.


The post holder needs to take minutes, write and distribute minutes, prepare and distribute agendas.


The post holder will be paid £10.00 per hour, on a freelance/self-employed basis.

How to apply

To apply send a letter of application in pdf format to by 5.30 p.m on Monday 15th February 2016.

Please note this deadline has been extended by a week from the date originally given.

Proposed amendments to Ouseburn Futures Constitution

We are proposing some amendments to the Ouseburn Futures constitution as we progress to establishing a Neighbourhood Forum, and members will be asked to approve at our General Meeting to be held at 6pm on 1st December 2015 at the Toffee Factory.

The proposed amendments

Key changes

In Section 5

Neighbourhood Planning – the changes take into account the representations made by Byker councillors to ensure that Byker residents and businesses, as well as councillors, are fully involved in the development of a Plan. In 5(c) it is proposed that the development of the Neighbourhood Plan will be led by a Steering Committee, with two working groups reporting to them. The working groups will work to a jointly agreed workplan. The make-up of the Steering Committee is specified in 5(d).  Point 4(b)vi has been amended to reflect the proposal to establish a Steering Committee, and point 4(b)ii(a) has been amended to identify places for residents and businesses in Ouseburn and Byker wards in the Co-ordinating Group.

In Section 8

Finances – the Co-ordinating Group proposes that Ouseburn Futures has the facility to open a bank account at any point in the future, so keeping the position as it is at the moment, with Ouseburn Futures’ money being held and managed by the Ouseburn Trust.

Minor amendments

In Section 2

Purposes, Aims, Objectives and Powers – the wording in point (d) has been changed to be explicit about working alongside the Council, elected members, businesses and residents.

In Section 3

Membership – a new point (h) has been added to provide Ouseburn Futures with the right to refuse membership if necessary.

In Section 7

Alteration to the Constitution – point (c) reflects the fact that there is a ward boundary review in process at the moment in the city.

The full documents

The proposed amended constitution can be viewed or downloaded as a pdf file: Proposed amended Ouseburn Futures Constitution November 2015..

The current version of the Ouseburn Futures Constitution is available here.


Insect Humans take over Ouseburn Farm

Cap-a-pie Insect workshop image.

Cap-a-pie Insect workshop.

This summer, theatre company Cap-a-Pie is offering free drama workshops to people of all ages at Ouseburn Farm. But these are not just any drama workshops, Cap-a-Pie will be working alongside with Dr Vivek Nityananda to explore the world of…..INSECTS!

Dr Nityananda is an insect expert from Newcastle University who finds out how insects use their senses to understand the world. Through loads of fun and physical activities and exercises the workshops will explore how and why insects behave the way they do, how animals use their senses to interact with each other and the world around them and you’ll even learn how praying mantises can see in 3D!

These workshops are for all the family and you’ll be helping to make a brand new piece of theatre inspired by all things creepy and crawly. The project is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England as well as funding from Newcastle University.

The workshops will be held at Ouseburn Farm, Ouseburn Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 2PA.

There will be lots of activities at Ouseburn Farm over the Summer Holidays including Farmers Club, Nature trails, Arts and Crafts and their own musical show – ‘Talk to the Animals’.

Insect Drama workshops will be held Tuesdays 11am-12pm, Wednesdays 1pm – 2pm and Thursdays 11am – 12pm between 4th August and 3rd September.


Parking in Ouseburn – proposals to charge & limit time

Ouseburn Valley Parking Map proposals March 2015 (click to see/download larger pdf version).

Ouseburn Valley Parking Map proposals March 2015 (click to see larger version).

Download or view the Ouseburn Valley Parking Map proposals March 2015 pdf version (larger and more readable).

The Council is carrying out a review of parking in the Valley and proposing measures to stop city centre commuter parking here, including introducing pay and display parking in some places, limiting the time that people can park, and permit parking for residents and businesses.

The first part of Ouseburn they are tackling is the central area, and they are asking for feedback on the proposed scheme by 26th March 2015. You can see proposals and give feedback several ways:

  • online on Let’s Talk Newcastle (you do have to register)
  • or look at the display about the proposals at Ouseburn Farm (open 9.30am to 3.30pm 7 days a week) and fill in a feedback form;
  • or attend one of the drop in sessions on Tuesday 17th March 2015 at which council staff will be present to answer any questions – Ouseburn Farm from 2.30pm to 4.30pm and at Arch 6, Stepney Bank (Ouseburn Trust) from 5pm to 6.30pm.
  • or send your comments to us (see our contact us page) and we will pass them on.

Overview of the proposals by Newcastle City Council

The following text is from the Let’s Talk Newcastle website page on this proposal with a link to the Ouseburn DIY Streets page added in (the relevant map is at the top of this page).

The Council is carrying out a review of parking in the Lower Ouseburn Valley in response to issues raised by residents, businesses and visitors, and to manage the effect of current and future development in the area. Space is limited and we need to make sure it meets local needs as much as possible.

Research has shown that most parking spaces are full during the day from Monday to Friday, that a lot of people park in the Valley and walk into the city centre, and that parking in certain locations is creating safety issues.

In order to address these issues we would like to start by introducing a set of short, medium and long stay waiting restrictions. These will sit alongside wider aims to:

  • support people travelling to the area on foot, by bike and by public transport, for example through physical improvements as proposed in the Ouseburn DIY Streets project;
  • identify possible locations for additional off-street parking

We will be looking at the area in three stages – the central area around Village Green, the northern area around Stepney Bank and Boyd Street, and the southern area towards the mouth of the Ouseburn.

This initial round of consultation will focus on the central area, and there will be more discussion in future on the detailed proposals for the northern and southern areas. The broad proposals for the central area are to introduce:

  • Free short stay spaces
  • Permit parking for residents (£25 per year for first permit, £75 for second) and businesses (£170 per year per business for the first two permits, rising for additional permits)
  • Pay and display at 40p per hour, limited to a four hour stay on-street, and requiring topping up after four hours at off-street spaces, to deter city centre commuter parking
  • Mandatory disabled parking bays in convenient locations
  • A specified coach drop-off point for local venues
  • Electric car charging points
  • A car-club bay

We hope to be able to agree the proposals for the central area in April 2015. We would then need to go through a full statutory process, and the changes would be introduced by October 2015. It would be a similar 6-8 month process for each of the following stages, but we could overlap some of this work and aim to have everything in place by April 2016. This survey will be open from 9 to 26 March 2015.

If you want to read the background to these proposals, you can view or download the full version of the review:


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.

Have your say on Lower Ouseburn Valley developments

View Larger Map

Carillion-igloo have commissioned a Commonplace map and feedback tool (see above) to enable you to see their latest development proposals and to comment on them.

Screenshot showing the Commonplace page for Lower Steenberg's Yard proposal.

Screenshot showing the Commonplace page for Lower Steenberg’s Yard proposal.

One of the first sites to feature on it is Lower Steenberg’s Yard, following a week of exhibiting the designs for it in Ouseburn at the Toffee Factory, xsite architecture, and Ernest. If you didn’t have a chance to see the design and comment on it when the displays were up, you can now see it and say what you think online.

The Malmo Quay proposals, currently at an earlier stage in the design process, are also available. The designs will be added to the page as they are developed so you can give feedback.

Screenshot of the Commonplace page for proposals for Malmo Quay, Newcastle upon Tyne.

Screenshot of the Commonplace page for Malmo Quay, Newcastle upon Tyne.

Each comment added is shown on the map, so you can read what other people think about the designs. Carillion-igloo will read the comments and feed them back into the development of the designs.

We hope lots of people will take the opportunity to look at the designs, comment on them, share them with everyone they know who is interested in Ouseburn.

Stepney Bank one-way trial 7 – 8 November

The Stepney Bank one-way street trial, part of the Ouseburn DIY Streets project, is happening today, Friday 7th November and Saturday 8th November. The one-way will be down the street to just before Northern Print, and the junctions with Coquet Street and Stepney Road.

If you don’t meet one of the Sustrans people or our volunteers with a feedback form for you to fill in, you can give your feedback via the online form.

Read more about this trial in our October update.