Saturday, February 16, 2008

An exchange of views ...

As promised I am publishing here the correspondence I had with Newcastle City Council over plans to 'take in' a large slice of the City Stadium next to the former paint factory (demolished) in Battlefield. The plan as promoted (jointly I now understand between owners and the Council) envisaged building a car park for thirteen hundred vehicles over 'part' of the City Stadium site – effectively 'taking in' the whole site eventually for development. The gain accruing thereby to the City Council and local people was not clear; that to the developers only too apparent.

This threat has not in my view 'gone away' (though it may not be as immanent). Plans such as these have a habit of returning and it is noteworthy that no new proposal has come along since this scheme was placed before the public. A change in the political control of the City Council (Liberal Democrats ousted Labour meantime), is no guarantee of a secure future for the open space I chose to call (appropriately in the circumstances) 'Battlefield'.

Firstly, a letter written by Jim Cousins, MP. This is a copy of a letter to then (and as now) Labour Member of Parliament for Newcastle Central, Jim Cousins to the Newcastle City Council official in charge of the development of the former paint factory site, including the construction of a large car park over the City Stadium open space (sic). This letter was copied to me by Mr Cousins as a matter of courtesy. I have deleted the name and telephone number of the Newcastle City Council official for previously stated reasons; I am not concerned with individuals simply principle. Mr Cousins is in the public eye and that is a different matter.

24th May 2002

Head of Planning and Transportation
Enterprise, Environment & Culture Directorate
Civic Centre
Newcastle upon Tyne

Dear ...

Former Paint Factory site, Portland Road, Sandyford (sic)

A number of constituents have contacted me regarding the future use of the former Paint Factory site at Portland Road. I would be grateful if you could let me know what the current situation is regarding this site and its proposed development. It would be helpful if you could provide me with as much detail as possible about the planned use of this site and the nature of any proposed development.

This is clearly an extremely important site in the ongoing development of the Ouseburn Valley. I should stress that my constituents are extremely supportive of such development, as long as that development is both appropriate and in keeping with the needs of the community.

Yours sincerely

Jim Cousins

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