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Newcastle City Council at our 'New Districts' forum



Above: Newcastle Gateshead panorama (courtesy Invest Newcastle)


Future Cities Forum is delighted that Cllr Marion Williams, Cabinet Member for a Connected, Clean City at Newcastle City Council, will be joining our 'New Districts' discussion event this month.


Cllr Williams is responsible for strategic transport planning and infrastructure, local transport schemes and lobbying for improvement of public transport, biodiversity, tackling air pollution, Clean Air Zone (CAZ) and is the political lead for the Council's response to climate emergency/Net Zero.


The forum discussion will focus on how regeneration of districts and city centres can help councils reach their net zero targets, as well as provide sustainable place-making to tackle health inequality.


On its clean air strategy, the Council has stated:


'Having clean air to breathe protects our wellbeing and keeps us healthy. Pollutants in the air come mainly from human activities such as industry, burning fuel, road traffic and building heating. Some also come from natural sources such as the sea, wind-blown dust and decomposing organic matter.


'We monitor air quality across the Newcastle so that we know and understand where problems with air quality are happening. The pollutant of most concern to us in Newcastle is Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) primarily caused by road traffic.

Whilst we do not exceed permitted levels for particulates (PM10 and PM2.5) the WHO have said there is no level of particulate matter at which people's health is not damaged.'

 

The preservation of historic buildings and landmarks are also important as on-going branding for cities, hoping to draw visitors back to city centres and shopping streets.


Ministers confirmed at the beginning of February, that the Department for Transport (DfT) will pay for the repairs -  to the landmark Tyne Bridge in Newcastle, confirming the money to fulfil a pledge that was originally made in summer 2022. Council leaders have warned repeatedly that the huge refurbishment project must begin urgently if the Tyne Bridge is to be returned to its former glory in time for its 100th anniversary in October 2028.


The full programme includes steelwork repairs, full grit blasting and re-painting, concrete repairs, drainage improvements, stonework and masonry repairs, bridge deck waterproofing and resurfacing, parapet protection and bridge joint replacement.


How Newcastle's historic streets and retail areas are being tackled for 'greening' has also been a vital issue. The Council has been keen to transform its city centre post Covid-19 as part of a £50 million city centre revamp that aims to create a healthier green city, drawing investment into the centre. LDA Design, the lead designer for the city centre transformation, stated in 2019:


'The vision is for world-class public realm which reinforces identity and civic pride by providing a fitting setting for the city’s architectural buildings, landmarks and art installations. The Council wants to make the city centre a more beautiful and attractive place to spend time, bringing nature in and improving connectivity by re-connecting fragmented parts of the city.

Northumberland Street, the city’s main shopping street, will be transformed with trees and planting into a relaxed place to be enjoyed all year round.


'Nearby Ridley Place and Saville Row will host independent local retailers and craftspeople, with pop-up food stalls and a flower market in Ridley Place. Further big changes include a longer-term plan to remove vehicle traffic from Grey Street and Blackett Street in the heart of the city centre, making them safer and improving the environment for residents and businesses.


'This would see Grey Street transformed with new planting, paving and seating, to become a hub for cultural events and performance and ultimately the primary pedestrian route between the city centre and Quayside.'




CGI Grey Street, Newcastle - image courtesy of LDA Design


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