Blue House funding – feeling reassured?


SPACE for Gosforth has received a response to our Open Letter to The North East Local Enterprise Partnership. In that letter we sought assurances that the funding for the Blue House, Jesmond Dene Road and Haddricks Mill proposals would only be released if those proposals met the NELEP’s own commitments to reduce carbon emissions from transport and supported the use of shared and sustainable modes of transport.

We would like to get your views. Do you feel reassured by the response below? Should NELEP be doing more to ensure that the schemes it funds will meet its own strategy of carbon reduction and supporting walking and cycling? Please let us know by 23 September and we will share your thoughts and suggestions with the NELEP and ask for a further response.

Newcastle Northern Access Corridor transport project – Blue House Roundabout initial scheme design.

Thank you for your letter of 11 August in connection with the North East LEP’s Local Growth Fund (LGF) programme, and specifically, the Northern Access Corridor transport scheme, which includes planned improvements to the Blue House Roundabout.

Subsequent to your letter, Newcastle City Council has confirmed its intention to review the initial scheme design for the Blue House Roundabout, and to set up a stakeholder working group involving local community representatives to review the initial scheme design. The North East LEP believes that these are positive steps that will produce a scheme that balances the objectives and policy goals of both the North East LEP and the City Council.

While the North East LEP has set aside funding to support the Northern Access Corridor from its Local Growth Fund (LGF) Programme, all projects need to progress from an ‘outline proposal’ through to a detailed business case which is subject to robust appraisal prior to funding being released.

In the case of transport projects, once transport projects are approved by the North East LEP Board to ‘enter the Local Growth Fund Programme’ at the outline stage, they are subsequently appraised and determined by the North East Combined Authority (NECA). This agreed arrangement reflects the role of NECA and its capacity and expertise in the form of a specialist Regional Transport Team. Therefore each transport LGF project business case is subject to detailed appraisal and determination, effectively on behalf of the North East LEP, by NECA. Once a transport project has outline approval from the North East LEP Board and has entered the LGF programme, the LEP will only be requested to make a further decision where there is a subsequent significant variation to either the project’s scope or budget.

We will continue to liaise closely with the NECA and City Council over the revised scheme design for the Blue House Roundabout and other elements of the broader Northern Access Corridor transport scheme as they come forward.

We do hope that a revised scheme can be identified and agreed locally that strategically provides for forecast traffic volumes from all modes with positive outcomes for the environment, local economy and road safety.

Yours sincerely,

Helen Golightly
Chief Operating Officer
North East LEP

2 thoughts on “Blue House funding – feeling reassured?

  1. Paul Roberts

    I am not happy with the response by NELEP because it fails to address the substantive points raised by SPACE regarding possible conflicts in its own planning criteria, particularly concerning emission levels. It also fails to address the issues of over estimating traffic volumes in the future by assuming a model of economic and social archivity based on past events and which is by no means assured in the future.

  2. Julie

    I agree that the reply does not respond to the points raised by SPACE and instead just describes general procedure. I suggest sending a holding reply expressing disappointment about the lack of detail on compliance with sustainable transport criteria. Also acknowledge that as all three schemes are currently under review, a further letter with specific questions will be compiled once SPACE has assessed the Council’s proposed amendments to the schemes, as and when these are published. It is difficult to say more at this stage because we don’t know how far the Council will go in addressing sustainable transport needs. If the resulting SPACE letter is formulated to include numbered questions and a specific request for a considered reply on each, it might prove more difficult for the LEP to deflect.

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