Tag Archives: environment

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.

DIY Streets designs on display and next steps

Following the street trial over the Ouseburn Festival weekend we’ve been looking at what did and didn’t go well, considering all the comments we’ve received and coming up with some possible improvements.

The original designs and the suggested changes will be on display in Ouseburn Farm from 11th to 31st August, opening times Monday-Sunday 9.30am-4.30pm. There will be feedback forms for you to fill in so please come along and let us know what you think.

We’ll be running another street trial in September on Stepney Bank where the road will be one way – this would give us the opportunity to create some public space at the top of the bank, widen the footpaths joining up to the residential areas and bus stops and possibly give some extra space for loading and short stay parking. We’ll tell you more about this in a future post.

All of this work will then be passed to the Council who will look at the technicalities and costs in order to produce a set of formal designs. We’ll display these in the Farm again when they’re ready, hopefully towards the end of September-early October. If everyone is happy with the plans we’ll be able to crack on with delivery!

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 environment@ouseburnfutures.org.uk to ask to be included.

 

DIY Streets May update

DIY STREETS logo

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!

Discuss Ouseburn’s future!

Come along and get involved in the discussion about Ouseburn’s future at Ouseburn Farm on Tuesday 28th January 2014.

What future for Ouseburn? What have we learned from the last few years? Where should we be going? What are the key issues in taking Ouseburn forward? What should we be concentrating on?

The panel of speakers to spark off discussion at our Ouseburn Futures Open Meeting has been announced!

  •  Dr Ian Baggett, Managing Director of the Adderstone Group, developers and managers of residential and office property (HQ in Ouseburn), which has developed 2 properties in Ouseburn.
  • Kathryn Hodgkinson, glass artist and Cobalt Studios director.
  • Tim Bailey, partner at xsite architecture, Foundry Lane (they designed the Toffee Factory).
  • Pauline Murray, of Polestar Rehearsal Studios and the band Penetration.

The following 3 panellists are to be confirmed:

  • Harvey Emms, Assistant Director of Development, Newcastle City Council.
  • Kate Edwards, Chief Executive of Seven Stories, the National Centre for Childrens Books, and formerly worked for the Ouseburn Partnership.
  • Ali Rhind, textile artist based at 36, Lime Street, and resident.

And the panel chair will be Councillor Stephen Powers, Ouseburn Ward, Newcastle upon Tyne City Council.

Doors open at 5.30pm, Ouseburn Futures AGM at 6.00pm, open meeting discussion 6.30 to 8.00pm. All welcome! Please RSVP to info@ouseburnfutures.org.uk if you’re coming (so we know how many for refreshments).

Download a copy of the flyer (pdf file).