Bridging the divide with the ‘One Core Strategy’

Bridges over the Tyne (2014)

Newcastle sees itself as an economic hub for the NE region and is one of the Core Cities. Investment in the urban centre ‘Accelerated Development Zone’ seeks to stimulate business and jobs growth.  The city’s economic strengths include facilities for subsea technology development and supply, a cluster of games development companies including the UK’s largest global games production studio and science with world-class strengths in the fields of healthy ageing, medical science and sustainability [].  To be an attractive place for economic development and jobs, it also needs to be a good place for citizens to live and work.  In short, Newcastle needs good quality homes to prosper.

One core strategy (future development plans)

Newcastle and Gateshead councils have worked together on the One Core Strategy, a strategic planning document which followed the Bridging Document (see below).   The plan set out a shared vision and guide where housing development is to be permitted, how much there should be, what land should be protected and how places should change by 2030.  This plan was approved by Newcastle Council for submission to the Secretary of State in January 2014.

The inspector’s inquiry or ‘examination hearing’ commenced in Gateshead in June 2014 and detailed documents issued online.  The interim report issued 17th November 2014 highlighted some discrepancies and new documents with modifications were submitted.  The inspector decided to support the councils’ development plans.  The final report was issued in February 2015.  (It could have been accepted, rejected or gone to a public inquiry.  The Evening Chronicle’s report on 18th November 2014 highlighted the reaction of campaigners against the developments and described it as ‘a sad day for the environment’.

“The scale of new homes, jobs and employment land are justified by the evidence. The distribution of this scale of development, including the Councils’ proposals to develop on Green Belt land, is broadly supported…”  Government inspector Martin Pike’s interim findings, November 2014 [no longer available, was at Main Core Strategy documents]

The Newcastle and Gateshead One Core Strategy was adopted by both councils at two separate meetings on March 26 2015.  The plan adds around 30,000 homes over a 15 year period.  Growth is to be phased over time, at a rate of 1,500 per year, and most of the new houses (21,600) built in existing built-up areas and the rest in suburban neighbourhood or village growth areas (8,400).  The majority of private sector built houses are to be family-sized homes (40% one and two-bedrooms; 60% three or more bedrooms).

“The plan, known as the One Core Strategy, will guide development in both Newcastle and Gateshead to 2030 and beyond, and includes provision for 22,000 expected new jobs.  It was one of the first joint plans to take place between two local authorities outside of London and took six years to develop.” Newcastle Chronicle, March 26 2015

By contrast, a plan to build a large number of houses around the historic city of Durham, as proposed by the county council, was not supported by a government planning inspector and described as ‘unrealistic’.

Newcastle Council One Core Strategy page

Gateshead Council Local plan pages:

Bridging document: Newcastle Gateshead 2030

Newcastle and Gateshead councils realised they needed to bring together their ‘sustainable community ambitions’ and published a joint document in 2009 to inform the planning process.  In working together the neighbouring councils seek to recognise the spatial inter-connectivity that exists across Tyneside. Housing markets and commuting catchments cover larger areas than individual local authority boundaries.  In aiming to achieve a sustainable plan, the two authorities say they seek  mixed tenure quality housing (social and owner-occupied housing), with a range of choice suited to the needs of different households, in areas connected  with good transport services.

“Successful neighbourhoods play a crucial role in supporting the function of the urban core and are essential for growth.” (Bridging Document, p22)

It stated housing development would be prioritised in ‘sustainable locations’ along major transport routes radiating out from the urban core.  Neighbourhood areas highlighted for redevelopment included Benwell, Scotswood, Walker Riverside, Felling, Newburn and Blaydon.  Rural villages would continue to offer an alternative choice for living and working, with development in and around existing built up areas and  along routes preferred.

In the One Core Strategy map below, the green areas show the green belt and the orange areas were proposed for residential development.  The proposals for housing on the green belt were not welcomed by some residents locally.  On the other hand, he council argued it would not be possible to fulfill their aspiration to provide over 20,000 new homes without building on some green belt land.

Newcastle proposal map
Newcastle policy map: Orange areas to be removed from Green Belt

Newcastle policy map from  Map in pdf format

For more on Newcastle see separate page: Pressure on the green belt

Updated Oct 4th 2018; links fully checked 31st March 2017.


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