“Gosforth High Street is one of the key routes into the city-centre but suffers from high levels of congestion causing long delays for commuters, safety worries for cyclists and poor reliability of public transport, as well as high levels of pollution”
This is from the Council website, but is it right? Does it actually reflect the views of those who live in Gosforth? If we want to propose changes to the High Street then we need to be sure what it is we are trying to fix, and what is it that we value about the High Street that we don’t want to lose.
At the SPACE for Gosforth launch event we asked those present, all residents and users of Gosforth High Street, to tell us what they liked and disliked about the High Street and this is what they said.
What do we like about Gosforth High Street?
- ‘It’s a community hub with a long history of community focus.’ ‘You see familiar people.’ ‘It used to be known as the village.’ ‘Lovely feeling.’
- ‘Lots of useful, good quality independent shops’ ‘Close convenient shops within walking distance of home. No need to go to the city for shopping.’ ‘Good variety of amenities including pubs and restaurants.’
- ‘Lots to do for families’ ‘Close to the park.’
- ‘Good buses into town. Generally fast except at rush hour.’
- ‘Cycle parking.’
And what are the issues we need to fix?
- ‘Volume of traffic’ ‘Traffic splits the shops in two’ ‘Speed of traffic’ ‘Congestion’
- ‘Lorries and vans unloading on double yellow lines (sometimes for a long time)’ ‘Taxis stopping on double yellow lines.’ ‘Cars parking on double yellow lines – drivers just popping into the shops’.
- ‘Air pollution’
- ‘Feeling vulnerable as a pedestrian or cyclist.’ ‘Poor pedestrian and cycling provision’
- ‘Insufficient open car-free pedestrian areas’ ‘Too much concrete, not enough ‘green’’
- ‘Cycle lanes stop and start; they are not mandatory and consequently are often obstructed. High Street is not good for cycling.’ ‘Not enough cycle parking places on the High Street or particularly in the park’ ‘Poor provision for cyclist at junctions’
- ‘Non-local buses going through the High Street – could they be routed elsewhere?’ ‘No metro station’
- ‘Empty shops. Need to understand what businesses need to remain and be profitable’
- ‘Insufficient parking’
So broadly the Council’s statement is right, but it isn’t complete. Those of us that live in Gosforth share the Council’s concerns: we want to be able to walk and cycle in safety and without pollution, but we see our High Street as a destination, not as a transport corridor, and we want it to flourish and thrive.