Kingston Park: Postcode NE3 2RD

Where is it? Bing map||Geograph grid ref NZ2168

Neighbourhood summary

Kingston Park is a large estate on the western outskirts of Newcastle dating from the 1970s.  It has a mixture of housing including some low-rise flats, terraces, semi-detached and detached houses, all with planted open space and plenty of parking.  The western bypass, renamed the A1, cuts the Gosforth and Fawdon parts of NE3 from Kingston Park, which lies to the west of the A1. Between the main area of housing and the A1 lies the airport industrial estate.  It is connected to the airport and the city centre and beyond by the Metro light rail system.  Parts of Kingston Park originally had names such as Ouseburn Park and Tudor Grange, but these seem to be falling out of general use.

1970s terraced houses (Feb 2014)

1970s terraced houses facing Brunton Lane (Feb 2014)

Background

Kingston Park is an 1970s suburb on the western edge of the city. Original residents, who bought their houses as new, say they looked out over fields and there were very few buses. That sense of “almost living in the countryside” has certainly gone. The suburb is connected by Metro to the city centre and the airport, and in 1990 the A1 western bypass opened on the area’s doorstep. The area remains popular because of a good supply of relatively affordable family housing with garden space, good transport links (the Metro station and to the A1) and good quality local schools.

Originally there was a single shopping centre, aimed at local residents, with a small supermarket, a butchers, opticians, pharmacy and post office, plus a pub. Later Tesco built a larger supermarket over the road from the shopping centre, which caused Presto to close.  As the shopping area grew, a new hypermarket Tesco Extra was constructed on land next to the 1980s brick-barn style supermarket closer to the Metro station which Tesco subsequently demolished (now part of the car park) .  The small shopping centre, with its focus on local needs, has now been completely redeveloped and has a major Marks & Spencer store.

For more about retail change at the edge see: http://newcastleareas.wordpress.com/kingston-park/kingston-park-retail-change/

Housing

There is a mixture of house types, with terraced two-bed homes and low-rise blocks of flats available, but the main house type is three-bed roomed semi-detached and detached houses laid out in a culs-de-sac form with each group known as a ‘court’.  The area is dominated by houses built by William Leech and in the 1970s these were leasehold, but most are now freehold when sold.  Some houses north of Kingston Park Metro station were built as council properties for rent, but most were bought by occupiers under ‘right to buy’ schemes.  The majority of the houses in the area are owner-occupied and have benefited from various home improvements.  Replacement glazing and new doors are common, many of the houses have porches on the front and the semis often have an upstairs extension over the garage to give a fourth bedroom.  Conservatories can be glimpsed in the enclosed back gardens.

Petherton Court (February 2014)

Petherton Court (February 2014)

Future changes

Kingston Park’s new neighbour is the Great Park development which is blamed by local residents for the sudden expansion of retailing at Kingston Park and the associated increase in traffic. Brunton Road marks the northern edge of Kingston Park and the southern edge of the Great Park. At the time it was proposed, the council described the ‘park’ as a strategic investment site. Many protested at this greenfield development on green belt land.

There are now plans to create a proper town centre for the Great Park:

“The multiple use town centre is centered around a new supermarket with North to South pedestrian boulevard, market square and links to the surrounding housing and strategic open space. In the town centre it is planned that high street style shops, cafes and restaurants will provide for the needs of the new community.” http://www.newcastle.gov.uk/people-and-communities/where-you-live/newcastle-great-park

One Core Strategy

Other significant proposed changes are in the One Core Strategy – a joint plan for the future of Newcastle and Gateshead.  This suggested a number of things that would affect those living at Kingston Park and therefore attracted protests from residents – for example around 200 people attended a protest ramble on the edge of the city in August 2012.  Proposals included:

  • New housing in a growth zone on the western edge of the city (e.g. 6,500 houses on the Green Belt at Callerton Park)
  • A new bypass from Throckley to the A1 via the Great Park

Retired teacher Sandy Irvine, 62, of Gosforth, a member of the Newcastle Green Party, said: “It is important to protect the region’s green belt land. The council’s housing plans will mean, if not stopped, there will be a continuous sprawl from the Tyne Bridge to the far side of Ponteland. Then there is the proposed new road paralleling the A1.  This would mean damage to wildlife habitats, more congestion and an increase in traffic and noise pollution.”

The reshaped plan was approved by Newcastle Council for submission to the Secretary of State in January 2014.  A decision was due to be reached in summer 2014 – it can be accepted, rejected or go to a public enquiry – but the inspector issued an interim set of findings in November 2014 broadly supportive of the council’s housing plans and, despite some outstanding issues, it seems campaigners have lost their fight to prevent the housing developments.

“The inspector supported homes on greenfield sites at Callerton (3,000 homes), Newbiggin Hall (300), Kingston Park and Kenton Bank Foot (800), Newcastle Great Park (1,480), Dinnington (250), Throckley (550), Hazlerigg and Wide Open (500), all in Newcastle.” Chronicle report November 18th 2014

The One Core Strategy strategic land review page for Kingston Park and Kenton Bank Foot discussed a number of specific sites forming a neighbourhood growth area and, despite the impact  traffic congestion, suggested up to 850 houses could be built.  (Builders Taylor Wimpey is understood to have secured options on the majority of these housing sites.)

“All of these sites, with the exception of site 4827, are capable of representing a suitable, sustainable location for housing development and could contribute in the order of 850 homes towards the City’s housing requirement, including a high proportion of family houses.”  One core strategy NG – Kingston Park and Kenton Bank Foot

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