In mid-February 2023 many households within the then-proposed LTN area in the constituency of North Jesmond received a leaflet stating that five roads were to be closed off with on March 6th 2023, leaving a single through-route of Jesmond Dene Road and Grosvenors Road and Avenue.
The idea was to discourage what were referred to as ‘rat-runners’ using this part of Jesmond as a short-cut. It was ‘hoped’ that those ‘rat-runners’ would move onto the ‘main’ roads (which are also residential streets, one of which contains a children’s nursery) around the outer periphery of Jesmond. The single route that was left open was apparently at the request of the emergency services.
Of course, the inevitable happened and all the traffic that formerly drove through several streets simply moved onto the single through route rather than taking the already congested ‘main’ roads. Traffic on the through-route tripled to around 3k vehicles per day. And Grosvenor Road is one of the most unsuitable roads for heavy traffic as it is single file due to cars being parked on both sides of the road.
The introduction of the scheme caused much anger among affected residents from within and from outside the closed off area. The anger was caused much less by the idea of an LTN than by the way it was implemented – with no active engagement or consultation. Newcastle City Council responded by holding a public meeting which was well attended – standing room only. They promised to make ‘tweaks’ within a few days. The tweak came two weeks later, at around midnight on 30th March. They closed off the through route completely.
Since then, the traffic on the peripheral main (residential) roads has, in the words of a local councillor, been “intolerable”. During peak hours drivers were reporting that their journey times had increased phenomenally, and much of their journey was spent idling engines in gridlocked traffic. Pollution on these roads must also have increased exponentially.
There is also evidence that, despite the Emergency Services apparently giving their blessing to the complete closure (documentation now gained via a Freedom of Information request shows that this is not accurate), emergency service workers are struggling to provide an emergency service. Residents have witnessed a number of ambulances and police cars being clearly unaware of and confused by the closures.
The council have consistently failed to produce any data of substance to show why it was necessary to introduce this particular LTN, and many FoI requests are finding that the hard facts and evidence for it simply isn’t there.
With regard to consultation, the council claimed they had actively consulted residents. And it was evidenced that some leaflets had been sent out in during 2020 - 2022 but the wording on these leaflets is very vague and at no point until February 2023 was there any mention of closing all streets, by which point it was a fait accompli! A significant number of residents did not receive those leaflets and they were only sent to residents within the LTN even though residents on the streets immediately surrounding the LTN were also to be significantly impacted.
OneJesmond is a non party political group. We recognise the need to cut pollution from vehicles and stand ready to work with others to reduce emissions. The group is not funded by or affiliated with any other group.
Through the work of the group, secure an improvement to the current LTN
Work with other groups in a constructive way that highlights challenges, issues and recommendations to achieve the overarching aim
Communicate effectively at appropriate points so that all interested parties feel involved and consulted
Provide opportunities for people to contribute views and support the collective progress