Ward map for the Gosforth Area

Local Elections 2023

Ward map for the Gosforth Area

Elections for Newcastle City Council are due to be held on 4 May 2023. This blog looks at what has happened since the local elections in 2022, and what local candidates and political parties are offering now.

It is important to distinguish between elections and consultations. Elections decide the party that will lead the Council and the policies they will implement. Consultations are to engage with residents on how (rather than if) those policies will be implemented.

We have looked at local election manifestos again as these are where the parties set out what they want to achieve and how they will prioritise resources to achieve it.  Litter picks and reporting potholes are fine but don’t really distinguish between candidates, and obviously you don’t need to be elected a Councillor to do these things.

While SPACE for Gosforth is focused on transport and the environment, manifestos can cover the full range of Council services including social care, schools, waste, planning and public health. We have included links below where we have them, so you can find what parties are proposing in these other areas.

Labour’s 2022 Manifesto commitments

The Labour Party, with 58 of 70 Councillors, currently run Newcastle City Council. In 2022, the Labour Party manifesto committed to:

  • Working with schools, parents and local communities to make walking and cycling to school safer for parents and children through safer streets and junctions as well as through awareness of air pollution.
  • Working with partners to deliver the carbon zero action plan. This includes (action T10) development of a “City-wide Low Carbon Transport Vision”
  • Reviewing the plans for the City Centre and Old Eldon Square.
  • Introducing more Play Streets / Low Traffic Neighbourhoods / School Street pilots.

To deliver on these commitments Labour have:

  • Trialled School Streets at Hotspur, Grange,  Chillingham Road and Ravenswood schools.
  • Implemented trial low traffic neighbourhoods in HeatonJesmond east of Osborne Road and Five Admirals estate in Gosforth, and are consulting on proposals for West Fenham.
  • Applied for new traffic enforcement powers to improve safety at the Christon Road / Gosforth High Street junction.
  • Consulted on a permanent cycle route on Queen Victoria Road, next to the RVI and Newcastle University.
  • Completed the Heaton Road cycle lane.
  • Started work on the new Grey Street layout to widen the pavement and create space for pavement cafes.
  • Received £3m funding for the West Road to address traffic safety issues.
  • Produced a report, presented at October Cabinet, titled ‘Reframing Transport’ to ‘agree the basis of future interventions on our city’s highways network in neighbourhoods, on main corridors, and in the city centre – while also adopting higher standards for street design in future developments.’
  • Held a Youth Climate Summit, the outcomes of which included asks from the youth participants to “reduce car travel by building more cycle lanes”, creating a ‘Green Zone’ in the city centre widening “bike routes and lanes within this zone and introduce more electric charging points” and “a review of Newcastle Airport’s masterplan in line with the city’s climate Net Zero targets.” The Council has yet to respond to these requests.

In addition, they have:

Less positively, Labour introduced a new layout on Gosforth High Street removing protected space for walking and cycling and reducing the width of existing cycle lanes south of Elmfield Road, despite being advised by officers that this layout does not meet the LTN1/20 traffic safety standard the Council committed to both in the October ‘Reframing Transport’ report and at November full Council. We wrote about the new Gosforth High Street layout here.

Proposals to remove traffic from Blackett Street made by the Labour administration but before Cllr Kemp became Leader of the Council were also abandoned. This is the second time Labour have abandoned a city centre scheme designed to cut pollution, improve the environment and improve safety for people cycling. The other time was Percy Street in 2019. This severely inhibits people’s ability to cycle to and across the city centre.

Play Streets have not been progressed either and the Council website currently says applications for play streets are paused. Nor has the Council (to our knowledge) implemented any safer streets or junctions for children walking or cycling to school, other that School Streets in the immediate vicinity of the four schools where this has been trialled.

Labour’s 2023 local election manifesto includes:

  • Making streets and neighbourhoods cleaner and greener.
  • Help people stay healthy and active by investing in leisure, sport and getting out and about, with a new plan for walking and cycling.
  • Supporting safe, active travel by improving walking/wheeling and cycling routes.
  • Working with partners, Nexus and bus companies we will work to improve public transport, reducing traffic idling by raising awareness of the health impact and increasing enforcement
  • Working to become a UNICEF Child friendly city.

The Council website also states that the next phase of Gosforth High Street will look at improvements for walking and cycling.

In Parklands ward, the Labour candidate says he supports more schemes like Salters Bridge and believes “we must act quickly to reduce CO2 levels in our city”.

Liberal Democrats

The Liberal Democrats are the official opposition in Newcastle with 21 of 78 Councillors.

In the last year they proposed, and gained cross-party support for, a full Council motion on Gosforth High Street asking Council Cabinet (made up of Labour Councillors) to ensure proposals for Gosforth High Street:

  • Support the development of Gosforth High Street as a thriving local destination with a diverse range of shops and services.
  • Are designed to the highest possible safety standards for all road users, including LTN1/20.
  • Enable low-carbon transport options to enable people travel to, along and across the High Street, cut pollution and support the city’s ambition to achieve net zero by 2030.
  • Enhance the green infrastructure.
  • Are delivered urgently to achieve these benefits as soon as possible, but not without meaningful engagement with local residents about the options and impacts of various schemes.

Labour Councillors, including the Council Cabinet, also supported this motion. Following the Council meeting officers drew up two options for Gosforth High Street, one of which complied with LTN1/20 as written in the motion. The Labour Council Cabinet chose the other option.

Linked to this, Lib Dem Councillors launched two petitions.

  1. Save our Shops – to improve the shopping experience and “enhance Gosforth High Street as a healthy, green and thriving district shopping centre”.
  2. Save our Streets – Safer, Greener, Cleaner Neighbourhoods “to counteract measures on Gosforth High Street” including “safe walking routes; cycle network; low traffic neighbourhoods; reduced emissions; clear traffic signage and diversions.”

Gosforth Ward Councillors also commissioned the new planters on Gosforth High Street at the junction with Woodbine Road and next to the St Nicholas Avenue traffic lights.

Newcastle Liberal Democrats have published their City Council Election May 2023 – Manifesto. This includes:

  • Supporting “more walking, cycling and public transport to change people’s travel habits.” Reinvigorating “strategic network planning, funded by a workplace parking levy, to make it easier for people to make greener choices.”
  • Creating a “holistic plan for joined up a public transport system that is fast, reliable and cheap; that makes low emissions possible for everyone, whether this is through low emission buses, better park and ride and cycle schemes, or safe and secure walking routes.”

More recently Newcastle Lib Dems have tweeted their support for school streets and all age and ability cycle lanes.


Newcastle Conservatives continue to campaign against Conservative Government policies to introduce Clean Air Zones and safer local streets, albeit that the Conservative Government only agreed to tackle illegal levels of pollution after being instructed to by the High Court following years of inaction.

Meanwhile the Conservative candidate for Gosforth Ward ran a petition, claiming that the orange wands on Gosforth High Street had slowed journey times and contributed to air pollution, neither of which turned out to be true. According to Council measurements, the “Covid” layout made minimal difference to journey times for motor vehicles and air pollution improved compared to previous years.

In March, the Conservative government announced a significant cut in funding for walking and cycling, all while continuing to pump billions of pounds into low-value high-emission road schemes. As a recent Sustrans petition pointed out, only 8p of every £100 spent on transport in England (0.08%) currently goes towards active travel infrastructure.

In previous years Newcastle Conservatives have not produced a manifesto or policy document for local elections. We have asked if they will produce a local election manifesto for 2023, and will share a link here if/when they confirm.

Conservative Party Chair Oliver Dowden MP did try cycling in Gosforth when he visited for the previous local elections, though only on a quiet side road and not on Gosforth High Street where safe space for cycling is desperately needed.

Then Conservative Party Chairman Oliver Dowden on a bike in Gosforth.

Link to video

Green Party

Newcastle Green Party has updated its Greenprint for Newcastle for the 2023 elections. This includes proposals to:

  • Improve school transport (e.g. using walking school buses and widespread school streets).
  • Free space for pop-up parks, and areas for children to play safely outside.
  • Segregated, protected cycling infrastructure that is suitable for all ages.
  • The introduction of workplace parking levies.
  • Shifting the transport of goods to more sustainable methods, including the use of cargo bikes.
  • Invest in more, safe cycle storage across the city.
  • Create Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs) and School Streets to encourage more parents and children to walk and cycle to and from school.
  • Ensure that there are safe cycle routes both between popular student areas (Jesmond, Heaton, Sandyford and Arthur’s Hill) and from these student areas to the universities.


No other parties or independents have put candidates forward for election in the four Gosforth Council wards.