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.

DIY Streets – May 2016 update

The technical proposals have been officially signed off!!

Now we just need to review the budget and agree the design details that will add character to the basic highways works. As previously discussed with the Council we’re hoping these will include:

  • Use of two colours of tarmac to define the footpath and the more general public space outside Ernest and the Tanners
  • A bench or two, cycle parking, bins and planters (which we’re hoping to be able to paint), outside Ernest and the Tanners, and at other locations on our focus streets
  • Street trees where possible to green and soften things up
  • Leaf and butterfly patterns painted under the bridge arch on Stepney Road to signpost the entrance to City Stadium and the woodland paths, and to brighten up this dull area
  • Round bollards on the widened pavement at the Stepney Bank/Lime Street corner – we will work with local organisations and artists to design and paint these, and they could be refreshed each year
  • A bridge motif across the surface of the Stepney Bank/Lime Street corner raised table – we can’t use bright colours here like we did at the Festival trial but we’ll work with the available materials to create something distinctive here in the heart of the Valley

The project will then move on to the ACTUAL DELIVERY STAGE!! This could be from June onwards and will be done in stages – Ouseburn Futures will aim to work with the Council to keep you updated about what will be happening when, as obviously there will be some disruption, but we’re hoping that the creation of safer, more attractive streets will make it all worthwhile.

DIY Streets – February 2016 update

The Council started the formal public consultation period for the Ouseburn DIY Streets project on 1 February 2016 – notices are now displayed on lampposts around the area and the plans are available to view at the Civic Centre. The notices state that:

If you wish to object, or make other representations about the proposed Orders or any of their provisions, you should send your objection or representation by 22 February 2016 quoting reference GH/P50/1045 to Newcastle Parking Services, PO BOX 2BL, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE99 2BL, or by email to Any objections or representation MUST be made in writing and where an objection is made, it must state the grounds of the objection.

After the 22 February, the Council will look to resolve any issues raised. If there are significant objections the plans may need to go to a Regulatory Appeals Sub Committee where a view will be taken by the Council on how to proceed – this could take a further 1-2 months.

The project will then move on to the ACTUAL DELIVERY STAGE!! So depending on how the consultation period goes, this could be late March, or more likely April/May 2016.

Alongside the physical works we’ve agreed with the Council some ways to introduce colour and design into the proposals:

  • As trialled at the Ouseburn Festival, we can stencil butterfly and leaf shapes on the footpath under the rail bridge, at the entrance to City Stadium, to brighten this area up. Ouseburn Futures will take responsibility for refreshing or updating these in future years.
  • We will create a silhouette of the bridge arches on the raised table at Lime Street/Stepney Bank corner – we can’t use bright colours here as we did at the street trial, but we’ll use basic materials to create a more interesting surface.
  • There will be some spherical bollards on the widened pavement on the corner of Lime Street/Stepney Bank, which can be painted – we will work with local organisations to design these, and they could be refreshed on an annual basis.
  • We will be including street trees into the proposals where possible, and planters where either venues or Ouseburn Futures are able to take care of them.
  • The public spaces next to the Tanners and Ernest will have a bench or two for general public use, bike parking and planters. Both venues are happy to look after the planters, and may apply for pavement licences to use some of the space for their own activities, whilst maintaining a clear pedestrian route.
  • If there’s enough budget we’re also hoping to hoping to refresh some of the information boards that are around the Valley, where venues have changed or the boards have suffered from graffiti.
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.

DIY Streets update – January 2016

In October 2015 the Council finalised the technical designs for our DIY Streets proposals and sent them out to the emergency services, Ward Councillors, public transport operators and special interest groups, plus businesses and residents on the streets affected by the plans. Some queries were raised at this point, which the Council have followed up.

We are now waiting for the Council to start the formal public consultation period, where notices will be put up on the streets and in the press, and there is a period of 21 days when the general public can submit their views. The Council will aim to resolve any issues that are raised as a result of this, and if there are significant objections it will be taken to a Council Sub-Committee who will decide how to proceed.

It might take another 2-3 months to go through this process, and all we can do is keep asking the Council to start the consultation as soon as possible. If the plans are approved, then delivery could begin in Spring 2016.

In the meantime we’re thinking about how to set out the public space outside Ernest and Tanners, as well as where we could put planters, street trees and bike parking, and where we could use colour on the road surfaces and footpaths. If you’d like to be involved in this piece of work please get in touch.

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.


DIY Streets September 2015 update

Progress! The Council should soon be starting their official consultation on the DIY Streets proposals that have been developed with input from many of you over the past 18 months, to improve Lime Street, Stepney Bank and Stepney Road.

The first stage will be a Technical Consultation, when emergency services, Ward Councillors, public transport operators and special interest groups, as well direct neighbours of the proposals, will be given 21 days to give their comments on the plans.

The Council will aim to resolve any issues raised, then a Statutory Consultation period will begin, where notices will go up on the streets and in the press and there will be another period of 21 days when the general public can give their feedback.

Again the Council will address any issues, or if there are significant objections the scheme will go to a Council Sub-Committee which will decide how to proceed.

This process can take a bit of time, but should be complete by November/December this year, which would mean that work could start early in 2016.

While all this is going on we will be looking at how we can be creative with street furniture, planting and the footpath and road surfaces to make the streets more appealing – if you’d like to be involved in this please get in touch.

We’ll publish the final version of the proposals here as soon as the Statutory Consultation begins (potentially mid to late October).



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.