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Planning Our Future

July 8, 2013

The Newcastle and Gateshead Local Plan, is critical to creating the right conditions for long-term growth in our local economy.

It is a prospectus for Newcastle’s future as an ambitious city with jobs and growth, where businesses can invest and communities thrive.

It sets out the basis on which we can plan the development of a working city with decent neighbourhoods for current and future generations. It addresses the unfairness and inequalities created by a housing market that currently denies opportunities for families seeking a home they can afford, within a sustainable community and with access to facilities and services.

The green thread that runs through this document means we can manage development to reduce its environmental impact. Without it, the city could fall victim to unconstrained development, damaging communities and our environment.

We want to strike the right balance between protecting some of the things which makes Newcastle such a great place to live – like our wildlife habitat and the long-term vitality of our village communities – whilst ensuring that opportunities are not closed to new people coming to live here in the future.

It therefore takes the long-term approach we need, to look beyond the challenges and uncertainties of today’s economy, and chart out a better future for a confident, growing city for future generations.

By joining with our neighbours in Gateshead, we look across the Tyne to plan across the whole core city area, recognising the interaction between communities, and the role we play in a successful north east region.

Newcastle has a great economic future as a working city, with a vibrant city centre, new industries and new jobs in growing sectors, opportunities for our people to acquire new skills. As a great student city which brings young people from across the world to study and contribute to our society. As a cultural hub, with vibrant and active communities. As an open and confident city that attracts and retains people to live and work here.

The principal economic hub for a wider region, we will be connected by a modern public transport system that can be the envy of Europe, and to the world through road and rail links, and a flourishing international airport which connects us to the global economy. We are a city willing to intervene to support the economy, with an ambitious investment plan, and active measures to support jobs and skills. A city large enough to sustain the facilities and services required by a modern economy and society; and yet small enough to be accessible and welcoming.

This plan prepares the ground for that success. It supports the growth of 14,000 additional jobs in Newcastle by 2030. By looking ahead and understanding the make-up of our economy we can see where those jobs will be created: in areas of new technology such as offshore engineering and life sciences, in the flourishing creative and digital economy, in the continued growth of business and financial services, and in a retail heart that continues to innovate and develop in the internet age. This plan will create the room we need for business expansion, on new sites such as Science Central, East Pilgrim Street, the Central Station and Stephenson Quarter, on the banks of the Tyne, and at Newcastle International Airport.

Independent estimates suggest the combined population of Newcastle and Gateshead will continue to grow beyond half a million. We will need to plan for 21,000 new homes in Newcastle by 2030. We start from a situation in which young families are already struggling to find a home they can afford in a community they want to live. The UK’s dismal record on housebuilding is denying opportunities for our existing residents, and failing future generations.

We have choices. We can restrict further growth, push up prices further, and force people to leave the city in search of better opportunities. Or we can match our economic ambitions with a commitment to create stronger communities, with the homes that people need. If we fail to set out our own plans, the market will take over, and we will lose the opportunity to manage the consequences of growth for our communities, services and infrastructure.

Throughout the preparation of this plan, our overriding priority has been to build new communities within our existing urban footprint, and on brownfield land connected to existing infrastructure. Responding to cuts in national government capital spending, and a sluggish private sector development market, we have set out an ambitious local investment plan. Our Future Homes Fund will bring £25 million of new investment to re-invigorate our housing market over the next 3 years. We will continue to invest beyond that point, seeking opportunities to bring forward brownfield land for new housing wherever possible. We will plan for 15,000 of the 21,000 new homes to be within the current urban area, including 2,000 additional places for our growing student population. We will achieve this through investment in brownfield sites, and extensions of existing communities. We will support investment in the district centres that are so important in sustaining local communities.

Newcastle’s village communities are great places to live, with the benefits of access to the city, and to the beautiful environment which surrounds it. To sustain those communities, within a growing city, we need to invest in their future. Where growth can be managed effectively, we will plan for their controlled expansion, and avoid the risk of unsustainable or harmful development. By setting out plans for new homes in greenfield sites, including in communities already created from former greenfield land, we can secure the schools, shops, public transport and services that those growing communities will need, in a way that retains and secures the environment for future generations.

Our plan has been created through an active conversation with our communities. We have listened to the ideas and concerns, from those worried about the impact on their existing communities, and from those who are seeking new opportunities for places to live and work in Newcastle. We have taken into account the needs of future generations, as well as the people who currently live and work here. I am confident that this plan will help us secure a strong future for our city, for the jobs we need for the future, and communities we can be proud of.

One Comment leave one →
  1. July 9, 2013 8:39 am

    Reblogged this on Gradon Architecture.

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