Friday, October 23, 2015

Pathway to the future?

One dear friend who knows the patch of urban green space I call 'Battlefield' laid out a plan some years ago for the future – or what might be done to enhance the prospects for this part of Ouseburn.

The old paint factory site had as yet nothing on it; some local youths exploited it imaginatively, creating a skateboard space and decorated some found large pieces of concrete with spray painted heads like a polychrome Easter Island. I took some photographs and posted them on these pages.

My friend's idea was simplicity and sympathy combined. Use some of the space left by the paint factory for recreation, say, skateboarding ... Then create pathways down the valley into Lower Ouseburn, linking emerging areas of creative arts, the successful Biscuit 'franchises', and already developed creative and leisure enterprises in the Valley below.

He did not speculate in vain. The proposed five blocks of student flats have resolved into two – including one just off the main site – and there are no signs of preparation on the remaining paint factory site. Other investors have seized on the student housing market (a.k.a. bubble) dotted about the paint factory like pieces on a chess board. Other schemes are building elsewhere in the city, the latest on John Dobson Street and the old Oxford Dance Hall (a night club in recent years) on what is left of New Bridge Street. Saturation anybody?

Landscaping the remainder of the paint factory site looks much more of a possibility if I am correct.

Intriguingly, some work has been taking place in and about the interstices of Battlefield and the paths along and down into the Lower Ouseburn:–

Newly constructed (sic) pathway connecting the road way to paths running beside the East Coast Mainline Byker Bridge. Part of the fencing has been removed and a hardcore base laid. September 2015.

East Coast Mainline Byker Bridge. Grade II Listed structure. September 2015'

Hedge laying! A traditional form of management. September 2015'

Newly established low seat (very!) made from old railway sleeper (tie).

The long closed public footpath through the 'back door' of the old paint factory site has been re-laid and is about to be restored. Public Rights of Way are very protected and should be defended against all comers (i.e. Nicholas van Hoogstraten ...)

Finally, a fine harvest ...

No comments: