SPACE for Gosforth received a letter from one of our members in relation to a planning ‘Notification for Prior Approval’* to convert Eagle Star House at the Regent Centre from offices to housing and a potential opportunity to make the currently very busy east-west route between local schools safer for children’s travel. We are very grateful to the author for kindly agreeing to allow us to publish the letter and associated graphics.
Eagle Star House is located close to the Regent Centre Metro and bus station, and so from a transport perspective is a good location for new housing. As this helps the Council meet its target for new house building, it could also help avoid the need for further new estates built on on the edge of Newcastle in locations that would lead to large increases in vehicle traffic.
At the same time, being located so close to the Great North Road there are almost certainly going to be concerns relating to air quality, and efforts to improve air quality for all residents must continue to be prioritised.
This is the letter we received.
Re: Proposed residential development of Eagle Star House, Regent Farm Road, Gosforth Reference 17/00052/NRE
Dear Mr Edwards,
This is not an objection but a suggestion that a Section 106 and/or 278 Agreement be used to ensure that land to the front of the site is made available for a wider footpath together with a cycle path. Together with land already owned or under the control of the council this could be made possible.
The current path is a heavily used school route with pedestrian traffic from the Gosforth terraces towards St Charles school on Regent Farm Road and pedestrian traffic in the other direction to Archbishop Runcie and Gosforth Central Middle schools on Christon Road. Both these roads and especially Christon Road suffer extreme congestion at school drop off and collection times. I believe that encouraging parents and children to walk/cycle by making a better and safer environment would help ease this congestion.
A table ramp at the entrance to Eagle Star House car park would ensure that the path and cycle way have no kerbs here and demonstrate priority for the pedestrian and cyclist. At the same time the vegetation around the entrance could be removed improving the sightlines.
This route would link to the existing cycle network on the Great North Road, which travels along Christon Road and then down Alwinton Terrace.
The above map shows how the route would help link east and west Gosforth housing areas as well as providing a route by the front of three schools, Gosforth swimming pool and gym, Gosforth Library, Newcastle Council Customer Service Centre, Gosforth Civic Theatre and an area of employment.
Details of the planning notification can be found on the Newcastle City Council on-line planning portal. The reference for the application is 17/00052/NRE. According to the portal, the last date for submitting comments was 15 March 2017. The author only saw the notice on the final day and we received the email on the 16th.
*UPDATE – 17 April 2017:
1) Planning ‘application’ corrected to Planning ‘notification for prior approval’. Under permitted development rights introduced in 2013 it is no longer necessary to submit a full planning application when converting offices to homes. See press release: Thousands more homes to be developed in planning shake up from the Department of Communities and Local Government. Issues that can still be considered, and could result in the notification being rejected, include transport and highways impact; contamination risks; flooding risks; and impact of noise from commercial premises on the intended occupiers of the development. In this case the transport analysis suggested a likely reduction in vehicle movements as a result of the change of use.
2) On 7 April 2017 the developer Lambert Smith Hampton withdrew the application.