Category Archives: Ouseburn Futures Environment Group

DIY Streets July 2015 – please complete our survey!

We’re very pleased to report that the Council are making good progress on the technical designs for the project, and the proposal for Stepney Bank has now been drawn up. We also ran another successful street trial over the Ouseburn Festival weekend, which as any good street trial should, flagged up some issues that we need to consider.

The plans below are therefore likely to change a little, but the next version that you see on here, hopefully by the middle of August, will be the final version that will go through the Council’s statutory process – so if there’s anything you’re unsure about PLEASE LET US KNOW NOW!!

Stepney Bank proposal

Crawhall Road trial 2015

Crawhall Road trial 2015

The proposal for Stepney Bank is to

  • Create a public space outside the Tanners
  • Widen footpaths and improve pavement surfaces
  •  Identify clear parking bays along the length of the street – this will require some give-way sections, which will slow traffic speeds, and make it easier for pedestrians, cyclists and horses to get around safely.

Ouseburn DIY Streets proposals July 2015

Click the image below for a larger version:  DIY Streets proposals July 2015.

Ouseburn DIY Streets proposals July 2015.

Ouseburn DIY Streets proposals July 2015.

Tell us what you think

Please let us know what you think about the proposals by completing our short survey

Ouseburn Festival

Boyd Street trial 2015

Boyd Street trial 2015

We trialled the public space outside the Tanners for the first time this year and it proved massively popular on the Saturday evening for the NARC Fest, as well as for families passing through or stopping to relax on the Sunday. We spread out around Ernest again too, creating a much safer crossing point for pedestrians, and brightening up the tarmac with a unicycle and rapper dancers, amongst other things… The trial highlighted some potential issues for local businesses, and we plan to work with them to find a solution.

Next steps 

Lime St design idea

Lime Street design idea

We now need to agree any final changes with the Council, based on feedback from the Festival trial, comments we receive through the survey and conversations with local residents and businesses. The Council will then start their statutory consultation process, hopefully by mid August. This can take a few months, but while it is going on we can think about doing something distinctly Ouseburn with the road surfaces, and what kind of street furniture we might like to have – there are lots of creative things we could do, please get in touch if you’d like to be involved in this.

If you have any thoughts, comments or would like to get involved please contact Cath at

DIY Streets – March 2015 Consultation

We have now had an update from the Council on the plans and costs for the Ouseburn DIY Streets project, and there are three things we would like your feedback on:

  1. The proposals and the priorities

  • there are still some finer details to be worked out, but this is the last opportunity for you to comment on the location and general idea of each proposal
  • the Cycle City Ambition funding is limited, so based on past consultation we have identified three priorities that will make a big improvement to the safety and look of the area. The Council have indicated that there are likely to be more funds available in the near future so we’re continuing to design up all of the proposals to be ready to go when the opportunities appear.
  1. How to create a sense of place on the DIY Streets, using colour, design and street furniture

  2. Where to signpost a north-south cycle route through the Valley

Full details are given below – when you have had a look, please complete our survey to let us know what you think.

You can also come and talk to us about the plans at two drop-in sessions

  • Wednesday 25 March, 2.30-4.30pm at Ouseburn Farm
  • Thursday 26 March, 5.00-7.00pm at Ernest

There will be information available in Ouseburn Farm, Ernest and the Tanners from 23 March to 3 April 2015, when the consultation will close.

The proposals and the priorities

The plans are provided as pdfs for you to view or download – please click on the links to see them.

The overview plan shows the location of each proposal, the priorities and the second phase, as well as the proposed north-south cycle route through the Valley.

We also hope to be able to resurface footpaths on the focus streets, keeping them level across driveways so that it’s easier for people with pushchairs and wheelchairs.

01. Priority – Lime Street Stepney Bank corner

The aim here is to slow traffic coming around the corner of Stepney Bank and Lime Street where there is poor visibility and often horses and pedestrians crossing by widening the footpath and creating a raised table. This was the most popular idea during the Ouseburn Festival street trial, particularly the use of colour and design.

01. Phase 2 – Lime Street Seven Stories

The second raised table, outside Seven Stories, aims to create a better environment where school parties and families gather, by slowing down traffic and making a visual impact.

02. Priority – Boyd Street Stepney Road junction

The aims here are to establish a safe pedestrian route between Shieldfield Lane and Boyd Street/Stepney Road by narrowing down the over-sized junction, to create a colourful, sociable space at one of the key entrances to the Valley with bike parking and places to sit, and to clarify priority lines on the road to remove the current confusion for road users.

02. Phase 2 – Stepney Road narrowing

The aim here is to slow down traffic speeds, create a safe crossing point and widen the footpath where it is very narrow next to the bridge arch. We’ve found that there are a lot of people crossing in this location – either heading north/south along Stepney Road, travelling to Hotspur School and City Stadium, or taking horses up to the outdoor riding arena.

03. Priority – Crawhall Road Stepney Bank junction

This is another key entrance to the Valley and the main route to public transport and nearby homes. As a priority we are proposing wider footpaths at the top of the bank to create an attractive space for pedestrians, and to encourage road users to slow down.

03. Phase 2 – Stepney Bank

Plans for the second phase are to widen footpaths along the whole length of the street and resurface them so that they are level across driveway entrances, as well as identifying parking bays to stop pavement parking.

04. Phase 2 – Stepney Road Stepney Bank junction

This is also a really important junction as it is a key crossing point for families walking to school from local homes, is regularly used by people leading horses between the indoor and outdoor riding arenas, and can be difficult for cyclists, particularly if they are travelling up the bank and turning into Stepney Road. Therefore the aim here is to slow vehicle speeds and make crossing safer for everyone.

Creating a sense of place

The Ouseburn is many things to many people. The mix of industry, creative enterprise and nature within such a small area makes it unique to the region and its rich history further adds to its charm. As well as improving the layout of the streets we want to reflect this character by making the streets more colourful and creating spaces for people.

There are some examples of what we could do on Lime Street, Boyd Street and Stepney Bank, and we are very open to your ideas.

 North-South cycle route

The Council would like to signpost a cycle friendly route through the Valley connecting the City Stadium cycle path in the north to Hadrian’s Way along the quayside to the south.

We would like all of the roads in the area to feel safe enough to cycle along, and as part of this we’re hoping to see a 20mph speed limit brought in, but if we need to identify a route we’d suggest the one shown on the overview plan in red – Portland Road South, Stepney Road, (with the 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.



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.

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.


Help identify Ouseburn cycle route

The Council would like us to help identify a route through Ouseburn which can be marked on City cycle maps.

We were thinking Stepney Road, Stepney Bank, down past the Cluny and across the wooden footbridge, Foundry Lane, Ford Street (new crossing going in here at the moment which should make a huge difference), Maling Street and onto Quayside Road – but please let us know if you have any other thoughts. Come and see us on Sunday 6th July 2014 between 10am and about 5pm on Lime Street by the Village Green – or email Cath at .

Join in our July Clean Up!

Rubbish in Ouseburn June 2014

Rubbish in Ouseburn June 2014

There will be lots of visitors to the valley for the Ouseburn Festival (including NARC. Fest) on Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th July 2014 so we would like to do our best to make paths passable and safe for everyone.

Do join us – the more of us the better! We can provide not only equipment and tools but also lunch at Ouseburn Farm.

Meet us outside Ouseburn Farm at 10.30am – or if you can only join us for the afternoon, meet us at Ouseburn Farm at 1.30pm.

Please come dressed suitably for sharp and thorny conditions (long sleeves and trousers tend to be best where there are thorns and nettles).

If you’re interested in getting involved in our new Ouseburn environment project and learning some new skills, find out more at our general meeting at 5.30pm on Wednesday 25th June 2014 at Ernest, Boyd Street, Ouseburn. If you can’t come to that meeting and are not already on our mailing list, please email to ask to be included.


DIY Streets May update


In April we produced two surveys – a general one, and one for businesses and organisations in the Ouseburn. We also chatted to people in the street, carried out a survey of visitors to the Open Studios Spring Salon and ran two public events. The responses showed us where people felt the issues were, and from this we agreed that the project would focus on Stepney Bank, Stepney Road and Lime Street. We took a short report to the Council’s Cycle City Ambition Fund Group to sign this off.

In May, we contacted everyone who lives and works on the focus streets plus all the people who provided an email address in their survey response, and invited them to workshop sessions on the 19th May and 21st May led by site architecture. These workshops involved a walk along the focus streets and then a discussion of the main issues. The key points that came up were:

  • Slowing down traffic speed
  • Creating joined up, safe spaces for pedestrians, cyclists and horses
  • Tackling problem junctions
  • Managing parking to meet local needs
  • Reducing rat-running traffic, possibly with one-way systems
  • Having some sort of signage/features/planters along the streets
  • Keeping streets tidy and improving lighting

We won’t be able to tackle everything through the DIY Streets project but all of the comments gathered will feed into wider conversations with the Council and help us plan for the future. The next steps will be to work up designs based on the feedback we’ve received so far, and we’ll be posting some draft plans here at the end of June for you to comment on. We then hope to try some ideas out at the Ouseburn Festival on Sunday 6th and we’ll have a stall near Lime Street so that you can take a closer look at the plans and let us know what you think.

Our March clean up day was a breeze

Our clean up day in March was more breezy than a breeze maybe, but it was great to welcome some new volunteers. It’s amazing how quickly an area can be cleaned up when half-a-dozen or more people descend on it with litter pickers, bin bags, a brush, and a lot of determination! We also trimmed back nettles and brambles from paths so that they remain passable in summer.

In the morning, we tackled the area around Crawford’s Bridge, the muddy end of Foundry Lane, and the area between Crawford’s Bridge to the culvert opening, the former outdoor riding area, up to the old culvert arch and steps under the railway viaduct. The morning’s ‘treasures’ included a discarded bicycle wheel, quite a lot of broken glass. The wildlife sightings included a close up view of a lively little goldcrest.

We had delicious soup in the warmth of Ouseburn Farm’s café before the afternoon team set off to tackle the wooded area just to the North of the orchard and pond. There were dumped or abandoned clothes, pillows, and what were probably sleeping bags at one time – all soaked so heavy as well as quite muddy – in addition to the usual sort of rubbish.

A very big thank you to all the volunteers who helped in clearing so much rubbish on our March clean up day! If you would like to feel the same glow of satisfaction as we did at the end of the day, you’re very welcome to join us on our next clean up day, Monday 14th April 2014. If you can only spare an hour or two, you’re still very welcome. We meet at Ouseburn Farm at 10.30am, and then start the afternoon shift from there around 1.30pm.

Later on Monday 14th April, from 5.30pm to 7pm at Ernest, Boyd Street in Ouseburn, we also have a general Ouseburn Futures open meeting which will focus on plans for projects to improve cycle routes and the environment, and our new constitution. All are welcome!

A sunny Clean Up in February

We were lucky with the weather on the February Clean Up day organised by our Environment Group on Thursday 20th February. The grey clouds soon cleared so we had blue sky, sunshine and warmth most of the time.

We started picking up the litter on and around the Foundry Lane car park, and found some daffodils when we cleared the food bags and paper cups. Then three more volunteers joined us (including two of the youngest) as we headed uphill to the pathway that runs through the feet of the Metro viaduct. There was plenty of rubbish to keep us all busy, and some trimming back of the thorny and prickly branches growing out over the path. We were surprised to find purple crocuses flowering.

Our youngest volunteers were great at finding odd things that had been chucked or blown into the woodland by the path, including a bicycle tyre and tyre-less wheels.

Some of our volunteers finished at lunchtime, and some stayed for lunch (delicious lentil and veg soup at Ouseburn Farm). We headed back up to the path through the Metro viaduct to trim back more thorny branches and pick up lots more rubbish, including cans, bottles, and broken bottles. There were lots of small birds in the trees watching what we were doing.

We ended up with a pile of bags of rubbish (about two dozen) – and left a much cleaner path and woodland for people, animals and birds to enjoy. We look forward to welcoming more volunteers at our next Clean Up day on Saturday 15th March 2014!