Jesmond’s Low Traffic Neighbourhood Dismantled Amidst Controversy

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In a striking turn of events, Newcastle City Council took decisive action on Monday morning to dismantle the contentious Low Traffic Neighbourhood (LTN) in Jesmond, bringing an end to almost a year of heated debates and disputes.

Equipped with sledgehammers and drills, council engineers diligently worked to remove the bollards that had been at the centre of intense community division since their installation in March 2023. Placed strategically between Osborne Road and the Cradlewell area, these restrictions were implemented to discourage drivers from using residential streets as shortcuts, creating what was intended to be a safer and more pleasant environment for local residents.

The decision to remove the LTN, despite acknowledging its relative success, was announced by the council last week following a public consultation. The 18-month trial period was cut short due to a substantial majority opposing the scheme, citing concerns of increased congestion on main roads and adverse effects on local businesses.

The sight of bollards being uprooted and loaded onto council vans was met with jubilation from those vehemently opposed to the restrictions. A resident of Jesmond since 1976 described the scheme as “awful and divisive,” asserting that it only worsened traffic on arterial routes, negatively impacting local amenities and businesses.

The owner of Batch bakery on Clayton Road expressed elation at the removal, stating, “I’m so happy I could cry.” However, not everyone shared this sentiment. A former Labour councillor and Jesmond resident criticised the council’s decision, perceiving it as a “complete lack of leadership” that has undermined its credibility. The individual argued that the council prioritised minor inconveniences over sustainable modes of transport and healthy living.

Despite these contrasting views, a council report released last week indicated a “significant reduction” in traffic within the LTN, showcasing a 2,500-vehicle per day drop on Osborne Avenue. However, journey times on the Coast Road towards Newcastle city centre were reported to be 28% worse than in 2019.

A resident on Jesmond Dene Road expressed relief at the removal of the bollards but cautioned that rebuilding relationships within the community would be a lengthy process after 11 months of polarised debate. Another resident from Bemersyde Drive highlighted the state of the roads and numerous potholes as more pressing concerns, suggesting that the funds allocated for the LTN could have been better spent on improving cycling infrastructure.

The chair of Newcastle Cycling Campaign expressed disappointment at what felt like a council capitulation. The individual argued that the changes had positively impacted safety in the area, particularly for children using those routes to get to school. The chair criticised the sudden removal without adequate notice, emphasising the positive safety aspect highlighted in the council’s own report.

The city council received over 23,500 responses during the consultation on the LTN’s future, with 73% of those using the online Commonplace platform expressing opposition. In response, Newcastle City Council maintained that the LTN project had achieved many objectives but acknowledged that it had not worked for everyone.

In conclusion, the dismantling of Jesmond’s Low Traffic Neighbourhood marks the end of a chapter in the city’s attempts to balance traffic management with community needs. The stark division in opinions underlines the complexity of implementing such schemes and the challenges local authorities face in addressing diverse community concerns. As Jesmond looks to move forward, it remains to be seen how the council will navigate future initiatives and whether lessons learned will shape more inclusive and widely accepted urban planning decisions.

Danielle Trigg
Danielle Trigghttps://newswriteups.com/
Journalist Danielle is a skilled journalist specializing in regional coverage across the United Kingdom. With her wealth of experience and in-depth knowledge, Danielle dives into the stories that matter to local communities. Her meticulous research and engaging writing style captivate readers, providing them with a comprehensive understanding of the dynamic business landscape. Danielle's commitment to delivering accurate and thought-provoking news sets her apart, making her an invaluable asset to the News Write Ups team. danielle@newswriteups.com

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