Summary of Responses to HOW School Consultation

Summary of Responses to HOW School Consultation

Heart of Walker Supplementary Planning Document

Consultation Responses

February 2009

Heart of Walker Supplementary Planning Document Consultation Statement under Section 18(4)(b) of the Town and Country Planning (Local Development) (England) Regulations 2004

This consultation statement meets the requirements of Section 18(4)(b) of the Town and Country Planning (Local Development) (England) Regulations 2004 with regard to the adoption of a Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) for the Heart of Walker (HOW SPD) which states that:

(4) A local planning authority shall not adopt an SPD until-

(a)they have considered any representations made in accordance with paragraph (2); and

(b) have prepared a statement setting out-

(i)a summary of the main issues raised in these representations, and

(ii)how these issues have been addressed in the SPD which they intend to adopt.

Previous community engagement undertaken

To meet the requirements of Section 17 of the Town and Country Planning (Local Development) (England) Regulations 2004 the Council undertook community consultation both informally and formally.

Informal consultation

As identified previously at the Planning and Transport Committee meeting on the 27th March, between February and April 2007 the ‘One Big Month’ community engagement event took place in Walker Riverside where over 30 consultation events took place which generated around 1500 responses from local residents.

In May 2007 a two day ‘Heart of Walker’ place making event took place in which representatives from the local community groups and residents developed four options for how they believed the Heart of Walker should be designed. The four options were then taken away and 3D virtual models were produced for viewing.

Between August and September 2007 the four options that had been developed by the key stakeholders at the consultation events were shown to the public for further comments. This engagement involved five consultation events plus door to door surveys being undertaken. In total this generated approximately 400 responses.

The four options generated differing levels of support and so after receiving the responses from the community, a hybrid model was developed which encompassed as much as possible the most popular or important aspects from each of the four options.

In October 2007, City Council officers reported on the community consultation responses to the Heart of Walker Riverside Steering Group

Formal Consultation

In view of approval from the Planning and Transport Committee meeting on the 27th March undertake the formal period required for SPDs. The formal consultation period for the HOW SPD commenced on Monday 31st March 2008 and was originally scheduled to be completed on the 19th May but because of problems with postal deliveries,the final date was extended to the Thursday 22nd May.

The full proposals and accompanying documentation were made available to view at the following locations:

  • Lightfoot Sports Centre;
  • Thomas Gaughan Community Centre;
  • Walker Riverside Information Centre (Walker Road);
  • Churchwalk Centre;
  • Walker Library; and
  • NewcastleCity Council Customer Service Centre (Civic Offices).

Additionally, the all the documentation was available to view and download on the SPD consultation page of the Council website

Alongside the statutory notice in the Newcastle Evening Chronicle and Newcastle Journal, a special edition ‘Walker Eye’ newsletter was distributed to every household within Walker Riverside. This included notification of the locations of where the full proposals were available to view.

The following statutory and relevant consultees were notified in writing of the Heart of Walker SPD consultation proposals with identification of the consultation period start and end date:

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Specific Consultees

British Gas

British Telecom

English Heritage

Environment Agency

Highways Agency

National Grid Property Ltd

Natural England

North East Assembly (as Regional Planning Body)

North of Tyne Primary Care Trust

North Tyneside Council (as appropriate adjoining local authority)

Northern Gas Networks Ltd

Northumbrian Water Limited

One North East (as Regional Development Agency)

Telewest Communications Ltd

Government Departments

Government Office for the North East for:

Communities and Local Government

Department for Culture, Media and Sport

Department for Transport

Department for Work and Pensions

Department of Constitutional Affairs

Department of Health

Department of Trade and Industry

Home Office

General Consultation Bodies and Other Consultees

Age Concern Newcastle

Arriva Plc

Arthritis Group

Bellway Homes


Belmont Residents Association

Bridging NewcastleGateshead Housing Market Renewal Pathfinder

Building Futures East

Cambrian Residents Association

Church Walk Residents Association

Community Catering Initiative

Credit Union

Disability North

Dovercourt Residents Association

East Area Asylum Seekers Support

East End Community Development Alliance

East End Health

Elders Council of Newcastle

Energy Saving Trust

English Partnerships

Friends of Walker Park

Gill’s Pharmacy

Go North East

Help the Aged

Institute for Ageing and Health

ISOS Housing Group

John Boste Youth Centre

Kids Kabin

Lightfoot Sports Centre

Living Steets


Newcastle East End ADHD Support Group

Newcastle Locality Partnership

Newcastle Partnership (as Local Strategic Partnership)

North East Chambers of Commerce

North East Pensioner’s Association

Northern Architecture

Northumberland Wildlife Trust Ltd

Northumbrian Police Architectural Liaison Officer

Oval and Bakewell Terrace Residents Association

Park View Residents Association

Places for People

Planning Aid North

Pottery Bank Residents Group

Rathbone (Church Walk office)

Royal Mail Group Plc c/o Sanderson Weatherall

Sport England (North East Region)

St Anthony’s General Medical Practice

St Anthony's Children’s House

St Anthony's of EgyptPrimary School

St Vincent’s Primary School



Thomas Gaughan Centre

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service

Tyne and Wear Local Access Forum

TyneviewPrimary School

Walker Central Football Club

WalkerChurches Together

Walker Library

Walker Tech

Walker Walkers

Wellbeck Road Medical Practice

WestWalkerPrimary School

WharrierStreetPrimary School

Wor Hoose


Your Homes Newcastle

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Level of response

In total 119 responses were received by the Council by the close date of the consultation.

HOW SPD consultation key issues

Issue: proposed school site

There was concern amongst residents regarding the principle of a proposed new primary school and site. Within a number of issues wereraised:

Regarding the proposed merger between Wharrier Street primary school and St Anthony’s Church of England primary school, responses received indicated a concern regarding this issue.

Officer response

The potential merger is not being led by or a result of the Heart of Walker SPD as residents had believed. The proposed merger is instead one of the recommendations currently set out the within the draft ‘Strategy for Change’ document produced by educational services. The draft recommendation has been based on educational attainment, projected pupil enrolment levels and condition of school buildings across the city. The potential for the merger of the two schools will be subject to a separate consultation period to be held in the autumn/winter of 2008 with a final decision to be made thereafter. It is important to note that the Strategy for Change is independent of the How SPD. If the HOW SPD proposals were not taking place the Strategy forChange recommendations would still be proceeding.

The location of the proposed school site has concerned both parents and pupils from Wharrier Street and St Anthony’s primary schools. Responses expressed concern about the proximity of the site to the proposed retail, community facilities and shared play space with the Lightfoot Centre. There was a fear that antisocial behaviour would provide a risk to the pupils during teaching as well as travelling to and from school. There was also concern on the arrangements that would be in place for crossing Walker Road to ensure that pupils and parents would be safe crossing to reach the school.

Officer response

Full traffic assessments and design and access statements will form part of the outline planning application. These will set out what mitigating measures (if required) will be needed to ensure that safe and convenient crossing opportunities forWalker Road are available. The remit of SPDs is not to include such detailed information although it is accepted that these are legitimate issues for consideration. However, it should be noted that one of the key objectives for the regeneration programme is to breakdown physical and social barriers to help contribute towards social cohesion, this includes the perceived barrier of Walker Road.

The design, layout and size of the proposed school site has raised concerns, particularly whether the proposed site has the capacity to accommodate the required building specification and whether the orientation and layout of the building will facilitate an improved learning environment for pupils.

Officer response

Primary schools are developed to prescribed educational standards. This in addition to the guidance in the adopted Design Code SPD as well as urban design principles will ensure that the school building is fit for purpose and will contribute towards improved academic performance.

Issue: Car parking provision

There was concern that car parking provision was insufficient to meet the needs of parents, school employees and for delivery vehicleswhich park in and around school buildings.

Officer response

Parking provision for the school as well as all the development across the HOW area will be in accordance with planning policies contained within the Unitary Development Plan and as such will meet Council standards.

It should be noted that one of the objectives of the HOW SPD is to reduce the need to travel by car. This is achieved by creating more direct access to services and facilities and also locating complimentary services in closer proximity. These measures will enable greater opportunity to walk, cycle and bus to locations, dependant on personal circumstances.

Issue: Housing development

There was concern that housing development would not meet local need, in particular the provision of affordable housing particularly social rented homes.

Officer response

The commitment to delivering housing to meet local need as well as attract new residents to the area is set out within policies HP3 and HP4 of the Walker Riverside Area Action (WRAAP). These policies set out that the Council will deliver a range of housing types and tenures at 80% - 20% split between market sale and social rented.

It is accepted that local communities may not be familiar with the policies and objectives of the WRAAP and so it has been decided to include the policy commitment for housing within the HOW SPD.

Issue: Library provision

There was concern about the impact of potential library provision in the multiuse community facilities building may have on that already provided by Walker Library (Wellbeck Road). There was concern that opening a similar facility in the HOW would lead to the closure of Walker library. It should be noted that the majority of responses received were from the users of Walker Library.

Officer response

The current position of the Culture, Libraries and Lifelong Learning service is that it is important to be kept aware of regeneration opportunities in considering future library provision. To date there has been no decision has been made to either locate a library provision in the HOW area or close Walker Library. Only through engagement with ward members and local communities will a final decision on library provision in Walker Riverside and the wider Walker area be made.

Issue: Safety and security

Overall safety and security of residents and users of facilities was identified as a key issue. There was concern that unless adequate and proactive security, policing and management measures were in place, local users would be unlikely to fully utilise the services and facilities being provided. There was concern that the current levels of antisocial behaviour and criminal activity in the area would jeopardise the success of the HOW project.

Officer response

Safety and security is understandably a major concern for local communities. The remit of the HOW SPD is limited in that it can not really prescribe or implement crime prevention activities in the same way that Northumbria Police would. However, the HOW SPD does require developers to engage with the architectural liaisonofficer from Northumbria Police early in the development design stage. This willenableidentification of any potentialdesign solutions which can be integrated into building and landscape design from the onset. All new housing development in Walker Riverside is required to meet the Secured by Design standard. As a Council we also have to comply with section 17(1) of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 which states “without prejudice to any other obligation imposed on it, it shall be the duty of a local authority to exercise its various functions with due regard to the likely effect of the exercise of those functions on, and the need to do all that it reasonably can to prevent crime and disorder in its area”.

Issue: Consultation process

There was concern about the methods, processes and techniques used to engage with communities and whether the ones implemented were most appropriate.

Officer response

Although not directly related to the policies and proposals within the HOW SPD, the feedback received will be considered prior to future community consultation events to ensure that methods and techniques are more tailored to the needs, requirements and wishes of local communities.

Issue: Management and maintenance

A number of responses raised queries about the relative lack of information in the HOW SPD regarding management and maintenance arrangements in the post development phase.

Officer response

Although these issues are important considerations in the development process, the remit of SPDs is not to include this type of information. Management and maintenance arrangement will be drawn up via legal agreements/contracts and will be required to be in place prior to determination of planning applications.

Issue: Loss of playing pitches at the Lightfoot Sports Centre

Sport England’s policy is that any loss of playing space must be reprovide with the same management arrangements, unless there is an oversupply of play space identified in the playing pitch strategy.

Officer Response

We are currently working with Sport England to develop options to where possible mitigate against the loss of play space at the Lightfoot Sports Centre as the playing pitch strategy does not show an over provision in the area. This work is ongoing

All consultation responses have been acknowledged by the Council. The following table sets out a summary of the response received as well as the recommendation for change to the HOW SPD. The responses which were received late have been segregated within the table.

Summary of responses to HOW SPD consultation April 7 2008 – May 222008

Ref / Support / Area / Cllr / Summary of response
1 / Mixed / WR / No / Has read SPD.
Does not support overall proposal or development and planning for HOW, or public transport/car use principles.
Lightfoot/Walker Road should have a clear link and support proposals for open space.
Not sure on support for mix of uses or design principles for HOW.
Make aware once adopted.
2 / Mixed / WR / No / Has read SPD.
Does not support overall proposal or development and planning for HOW, or public transport/car use principles.
Lightfoot/Walker Road should have a clear link and support proposals for open space.
Not sure on support for mix of uses or design principles for HOW.
Make aware once adopted.
3 / Mixed / WR / No / Has read SPD.
Does not support overall proposal or development and planning for HOW, or design principles for HOW.
Lightfoot/Walker Road should have a clear link and support proposals for open space.
Not sure on support for mix of uses or design principles for HOW.
Make aware once adopted.
4 / No / OWR / No / No comment on whether SPD has been read.
Does not support overall proposal of the SPD.
Comments - What about the rest of Walker?
The heart of Walker is on the fringe of Newcastle.
Make aware once adopted.
5 / No / OWR / No / Has not read SPD.
Does not support any of the SPD principles or plans.
Comments - Do not move Walker Library, we like it where it is.
6 / No / OWR / No / Has read Walker Eye special.
Support only for open space proposals, does not support any other SPD principles or plans.
Comments - Does not want the library moved.