Friday, December 28, 2007
Re-development of the Newcastle and Gateshead quaysides and soaring land prices have unleashed a wave of new developments across central Tyneside, some brilliant, some not so brilliant and much which is frankly opportunist speculation. My own fears for the future of Battlefield and the city stadium were aroused by such a scheme in early 2002. I shall be going into this in more detail soon. I am not opposed to re-development per se; each scheme must be viewed dispassionately on its merits. The scheme proposed a few years ago was based on a three tier plan, each of which represented a progressive loss of open space. Inner urban open space is a precious asset and represents as important a cultural dimension, I believe, as museums and entertainment venues. I know of nowhere in Britain where large tracts of land in city settings have been created in recent times; what we have has been either the result of a legacy from previous eras – parks and large gardens – or inspired neglect. Urban open space – or green space – must be cherished and protected.