Monday, October 6, 2014

Strength through joy

I am trying hard to see something good in the latest round of "We need to talk about Battlefield".

Since I cannot stop it, let me look at the bright side of this unnecessary 'environmentally sound' initiative.

Battlefield is not Public Open Space. Now, following Coalition legislation passed in this Parliament and one, at least one I know of, Judicial Review, it could, in more than just theory, be sold off. This new work makes that threat more distant.

For reasons I did not understand nor learn, Battlefield was not included in the National Lottery Bid that included Armstrong and Heaton Parks and adjacent green spaces. Why? It forms a link in the chain along the Ouseburn after all. Perhaps this investment (like it or not) will make up for that omission. Personally, I always felt the reason was that Newcastle City Council wanted to sell the land. Again, the creation of a super cycle highway puts that suspicion into the background. For now.

It could be worse. Many trees were felled but others thrive.

True, but I could see no good reason to fell as many trees if bends in the existing cycle path had not been straightened out, I presume for reasons of increasing cycle speed.

The mixing of pedestrians, which in the past has always included many small children, buggies and dogs, next to a cycle track designed for high speed is in my view dubious. The large timber baulks placed alongside would have needed to be touching and continuous to ensure complete safety. Unfortunately, that would block crossing traffic. 'Havens' have been created to help pedestrians avoid being run down. We shall see how that works.

Also problematic are these exercise machines (shown above). No. I have never seen anyone using one for real either. The near by 'Tyne' sculpture was vandalised almost at soon as it was in place. I await developments.

Maybe I am being over pessimistic. Perhaps this work shows the Council have had a change of attitude and are serious about retaining and enhancing Battlefield?


Much of the Old Paint Factory site remains presently undeveloped, having had just one of five planned student accommodation blocks erected on the land to date. As this blog has recorded around the city – particularly at Gallowgate – there are now numerous large, all 'mod cons', student blocks opened or opening soon. Can any more be required even in this massive student city? Should the answer be negative, then a suggestion (via my old friend Neil) would be the creation of an extended 'park' between the existing (Not) Public Open Space and Stepney Road, including new routes down into the lower Ouseburn that do not require Jungle Jim clothing and a compass? It could be the making of a fine urban place.

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