Kingston Park: Postcode NE3 2RD
Where is it? Bing map||Geograph grid ref NZ2168
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.
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.
- Houses being constructed in 1978 Newcastle libraries on flickr
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: https://newcastleareas.wordpress.com/kingston-park/kingston-park-retail-change/
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.
Most current new home developments continue to be on the rural-urban fringe. Although Kingston Park is a mature suburb, it was once a fringe development on green fields.
As a result of the One Core Strategy, houses are to be built on farm land at the edge of Kenton Bank Foot, Kingston Park and nearby at Callerton (see below) from 2016 onwards. Even without this planned residential expansion the Kingston Park area already suffers from increased traffic congestion and a high demand for key services.
Kingston Park’s relatively new neighbour to the north is the Great Park development and this is blamed by local residents for the sudden expansion of retailing at Kingston Park and the associated increase in traffic. The northern edge of Kingston Park and the southern edge of the Great Park are beginning to merge. Despite protests this significant development on green belt land went ahead and continues to expand adding further to the pressure on infrastructure at Kingston Park.
One Core Strategy
Significant proposed changes were contained in the One Core Strategy – a joint plan for the future of Newcastle and Gateshead. This suggested development 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. At that point the proposals included:
- New housing in a growth zone on the western edge of the city (e.g. thousands of houses on the Green Belt at Callerton)
- 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. The inspector issued an interim set of findings in November 2014 broadly supportive of the council’s housing plans and 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
By summer 2015, NLP and Bellway Homes had consulted on plans to deliver 1,500 new homes and 2,500sqft of retail at Lower and East Middle Callerton. These estates close to Kingston Park, described as neighbourhood growth, are to include homes for first-time buyers and affordable housing for local people.
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 likely impact of traffic congestion, suggested up to 850 houses could be built.
“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
Land has now been removed from the Green Belt and allocated as for approximately 800 new homes; a public consultation on the Kingston Park and Kenton Bank Foot master plan was held in March 2016 with the houses to be completed by 2030. The council are to make a decision in summer 2016. This will establish the overall development concept including landscaping, infrastructure, service provision, land use and built form. It is proposed that three-quarters of the new homes will have three or more bedrooms and 15% will be ‘affordable’. The developers involved are Taylor Wimpey, Cussins and Avant Homes. (The sketch plan below shows the main areas of housing proposed – some may also be built on the eastern side of the Kingston Park rugby ground.)
Existing residents are concerned that is it is already difficult to get school places for those living in the area and that essential services will be squeezed. The council say the local primary schools Kingston Park, Simonside and Cheviot will be expanded (these last two are actually on the Newbiggin Hall estate on the other side of the A696 and might not be considered locally as an acceptable alternative). The council add that the NHS will have to consider the impact on local health services.
Chronicle news story [Feb 2016]: http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/property-news/hundreds-new-homes-planned-kenton-10945635
- See also Planning for the Future page: https://newcastleareas.wordpress.com/planning-for-the-future/