Newcastle Great Park: Postcodes NE3 5RJ, NE13 9BD
Where is it? Bing map || Geograph grid refs: NZ2370 NZ2270 NZ2271 NZ2371 || Ward profiles: NE3 5RJ (east) NE13 9BD (west) || StreetCheck: NE3 5RJ (east) NE13 9BD (west)
“When the development is fully completed, Newcastle Great Park will offer over 4,500 homes that cater for every need. One of the primary aims of the Newcastle Great Park is to provide an alternative to those seeking to move out from Newcastle to live in the surrounding market towns or outside the Region.” Newcastle Great Park website (Jan 2018)
Newcastle Great Park (NGP) is located north west of Newcastle city centre and is bisected by the A1 road (western bypass) and close to Newcastle Airport. It is a major area of 21st century housing currently under development with land allocated for a business park, community facilities, schools and ‘a town centre’. The scheme is being delivered for Newcastle City Council by the Great Park Consortium, which includes a number of prominent house builders (e.g. Persimmon and Taylor Wimpey). In 2014 the city council estimated the housing capacity as around 8,000 and it forecast there will be 4,300 houses by 2030.
The Great Park is home to the headquarters of Sage Software. It is intended to be a sustainable mixed-use development with high quality urban and landscape design including open space. Although envisaged to be an economic growth pole for the city, this aspiration seems to have been stalled by the economic downturn in 2008 and the Great Park has yet to experience sustained growth in employment opportunities.
The Great Park is not directly connected by the Metro rail system, but does have some bus services which link with Kingston Park and Regent Centre (Gosforth) stations. There is a free park and ride site linked with a rapid X40 bus service to the city centre, which stops at Regent Centre and Gosforth High Street. Residents are also encouraged to cycle.
- Newcastle council page http://www.newcastle.gov.uk/communities-and-neighbourhoods/where-you-live/newcastle-great-park
- Great Park and Ride http://www.greatparkandride.co.uk/
- Great Park Community Centre http://www.greatparkcommunitycentre.com/
- Sage http://www.sage.co.uk/
In the late 1980s it was argued that Newcastle needed to grow and develop to thrive as an urban centre and to do so the city needed provide good quality homes and well-paid jobs for well-qualified people working in hi-tech sectors (the knowledge economy). It was suggested up to 900 hectares of Green Belt between the A1 and the A696 to the north-west of the city land to the north-west of the city could be suitable for development.
The Final Sustainability Appraisal Report issued by the city council, dated February 2006, describes the process by which the Great Park came about. The Newcastle upon Tyne draft Unitary Development Plan (UDP) of 1991 proposed releasing Green Belt land in this area to accommodate the need for future development and labelled it the ‘Northern Development Area’ (NDA). In 1993 the NDA was designated as an ‘Action Area’ with proposals for 139 hectares of economic development land and 172 hectares for 2,500 dwellings and associated local community facilities including open spaces. A Public Local Inquiry was held between November 1994 and June 1995. The Inspector’s report (November 1996) backed the proposals for the NDA and the UDP was formally adopted in January 1998.
“The proposed Northern Development Area, between Gosforth and Hazlerigg contains the prime site within the Region for the attraction of inward investment” UDP 1998 (p6)
It should not be imagined that this series of events went unopposed. Many campaign groups and residents fought the NDA proposal to remove Green Belt status from such a large tract of farm land and build on it.
Outline planning permission for the development, now to be known as Newcastle Great Park (NGP), was granted in 2000 following a decision by Labour environment minister John Prescott to ease restrictions on hi-tech development on greenfield sites. Newcastle City Council adopted the Revised Master Plan, along with a supplementary planning document and a sustainability appraisal, for the Great Park in May 2006.
“Creating a vibrant community is key to the future vision for NGP and environmental and economic improvements are seen as extremely important. This is not just in order to contribute to reducing the negative impacts of global climate change, but as a method to attract population, reducing energy use
and transportation running costs for all residents in the NGP area.” Final Sustainability Appraisal Report (p7)
Future planning for the Great Park area was incorporated into the One Core Strategy documents the council presented. The inspector supported the proposal for a further 1,480 houses at the Great Park.
- The Unitary Development Plan (as adopted in 1998)
- Revised master plan documents (2006)
- Planning for the future page (One Core Strategy)
Local stakeholders continue to seek to oppose what they see as over or inappropriate development. In January 2018 the city council passed plans for 1,200 houses despite hundreds of people objecting.
“The project attracted hundreds of objections from people worried about the impact on wildlife such as birds and squirrels, traffic, loss of green belt space and the effect on the nearby Havannah and Three Hills Local Nature Reserve. It was said the number of houses far exceeded the 880 homes originally intended for the site.” Chronicle report Jan 12 2018
A representative from Newcastle Airport argued the houses would be too close to their runway and be badly affected by noise; despite this housing is to go ahead [Chronicle March 29 2018]. An online petition asking for the Havannah nature reserve and its red squirrel population to be protected has more than 16,000 signatures.
Residential development has been taking place in phased cells which have been given specific area names such as Brunton Grange, East Moor village, Elmwood Park and Greenside. A council projection dating from 2014 estimates that there will be well over 4,000 houses by 2030 and that the capacity of the NGP is far higher than this.
The early phases, known as Melbury, focused on Featherstone Grove, and Warkworth Woods, just north of Brunton Lane, have been complete for a few years. These distinctly upmarket properties are on the east side of the A1 and both extend the established area of 1950s housing Brunton Park, Gosforth. There is a mix of detached, semi-detached and terraced family homes (175 at Warkworth Woods and 500 at Melbury). The 2011 Census suggests most people living here are relatively affluent, employed in professional or managerial occupations and have degree-level qualifications.
In 2015 the average house price for postcode NE3 5JR (east side of the A1) was £249,500, ranging from £147,500 for a flat to £363,100 for a detached house; for NE13 9BD (west side of the A1) it was just under £200,000, ranging from £131,225 to £284,950. By comparison, the average for NE3 2QX at Kingston Park is just under £100,000.
- Chronicle ‘How much do houses cost?’ (June 17th 2016) Put in the postcode for a summary of house prices for the year ending 2015.
On the west side of the A1 most building has occurred in Greenside (cell G), East Moor Village and Brunton Grange (both cell F). These houses are closer to local facilities such as the community centre, nursery and first school. Greenside is just north of Kingston Park and when complete there will be 320 homes. East Moor Village has about 80 houses and is next to the school. Brunton Grange is offering some new homes through the Government’s ‘Newbuild Homebuy’ scheme.
“The first phase of affordable housing is now complete in the town centre. This includes an extra care facility with 40 two bedroom self contained flats. Also, two buildings containing 42 two bed flats with ground floor mixed use rental units.” City council Great Park page (July 2015)
“There has been a huge investment in the town centre in 2017 and we now have 19 small retail units available to let. The Town Square and work to complete Roseden Way will start in early 2018… One of the problems is that we have interest from over 100 potential occupiers and this negotiation is taking longer than expected. … We also now have a formal offer from a major supermarket and … we also have interest in the pub/restaurant, medical provision and private nurseries.” December 2017 update
- Flickr album: Newcastle Great Park (includes images of houses and facilities).
- Town centre plans Artist Impressions and plans (pdf)
- Brunton First School
- Great Park Community Centre
- Brunton Day Nursery
- Gosforth Academy Great Park project
The Great Park is projected to continue to develop and grow for some years to come.
- A map of new build developments (Chronicle Feb 6th 2015) http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/lifestyle/property/new-homes-newcastle-gateshead-map-8593584
The Town centre – and broken promises
A scheme to create a proper town centre for the Great Park, on Roseden Way close to the junction with Wagonway Drive, has been long promised.
“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
Staff at Gradon Architecture were involved in the master plan for the Great Park and the town centre affordable housing and retail units designed by them received planning permission in March 2016. Consultation sessions were held and the plans revised (e.g. to include additional open space). Yet residents complained they were still waiting in September 2018 [Chronicle news story Sep 12 2018]. They called for a halt to expansion and have set up a campaign website: http://www.greatparkactiongroup.co.uk/
“For the past 10 years, the consortium has promised all current and prospective residents 18 retail units, a supermarket, a pub and a beautiful landscaped area. As of yet NONE of this has been delivered. Please compare the plans and the current reality… it’s an absolute disgrace.” GP Action Group 2018
Many residents have felt they have been living in a building site for years. The October 2018 issues list highlights a range of problems people have had to put up with: https://www.newcastlegreatpark.com/october-issues-list/
“60% of the residents surveyed said that they had a 1 out of 10 confident rating that reported issues would be resolved in a timely fashion by the consortium.” GP Action Group 2018
- Chronicle report on town square development (June 17th, 2016)
- Great Park cell F (architect’s drawings)
- GP Action Group town centre page
There are also issues arising that have been tricky to resolve. The Great Park was promoted as benefiting from having open spaces and being developed with some environmental sensitivity.
“The landscape that is now in place has totally transformed arable farmland into a diverse mosaic of woodland, meadowland and network of drainage systems with hills, vales and streams. This ecosystem delivers wide open spaces with cycleways and pathways linking all the development cells and the wider environment of Newcastle-upon-Tyne.” NGP environment page (July 2015)
Unfortunately it has not always been clear that these open spaces would not all be publicly accessible and the landowners appear to have failed to communicate clearly where rights of way exist.
- Newcastle Great Park statement on public access (July 1st 2015)
The Gosforth Great Park Academy (GGPA) project aims to meet demand for secondary school places. The Secretary of State for Education has confirmed the proposal to build GGPA should proceed. This school will be part of the Gosforth Academy federation and will eventually occupy a site at the Great Park. The plan is to open in September 2020, accommodating pupils in existing Academy premises, and reach full capacity at 1500 students (June 2017 update ; April 2018 update).
- Newcastle Great Park http://www.newcastlegreatpark.com/
- Newcastle Council Great Park page http://www.newcastle.gov.uk/people-and-communities/where-you-live/newcastle-great-park
- Newcastle Great Park master plan – number of planning documents available.
- Great Park Action Group: http://www.greatparkactiongroup.co.uk/
- Gosforth Great Park Academy http://www.gosforthacademy.org.uk/new-schools
- Flickr album: Newcastle Great Park