All posts by Tim Stonor

Architect & Town Planner | Managing Director, Space Syntax Limited | Deputy Chair, Design Council | Visiting Professor, University College London | Director, The Academy of Urbanism | Fellow, Royal Society of Arts | Resident of Faversham

Backwards plans for Newcastle’s Blue House Roundabout

Newcastle City Council’s plans for the Blue House Roundabout are appalling and unnecessary.

I know the junction and have walked and driven across it more times than I can remember. The last thing it needs is what is proposed and I intend to do what I can to help stop the scheme.

There is already a significant body of local opposition to the proposals, for example:

https://wordsmiths2801.wordpress.com/2016/08/13/self-loathing-on-a-city-scale/

“At present, it’s a busy, but functioning, junction occupying a particularly striking location – the intersection of two broad avenues of lime trees, some 130 years old, which cross the historic open spaces known as Duke’s Moor, Little Moor and the Town Moor. These spaces belong to the hereditary Freemen of Newcastle upon Tyne, who have been exercising their right to graze cattle here for a thousand years or so. They form a green belt around the city centre and make its inner suburbs surprisingly pastoral.”

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Yet the more weight that can be brought against these unnecessary, expensive and car-centric proposals, the better.

Don’t let this nonsense be foisted any further. Take Newcastle forwards not backwards.

Faversham Guildhall in Bloom

How can the space around the Guildhall in Faversham be improved?

How can the heart of the town look more attractive to residents and visitors alike?

How can vehicles be prevented from parking outside and blocking the view of the historic Guildhall?

How can outdoor dining be better accommodated?

How can more safe space be made for pedestrians?

In response to these questions Morrison Brink Stonor Architects has developed a proposal to extend the stone plinth beneath the Guildhall, thereby removing the space available for vehicles to park there. And we’ve added planters to further dissuade drivers.

This is a first sketch of the design concept. The planters could be differently shaped. They could be replaced with bollards. They could incorporate benches. There could be more of them or fewer of them. They could be on lockable wheels. Or the market could work around them.

There will be a cost to extending the plinth but the planters could be put in place first.

It’s a vision of how Faversham could be. And of course it’s a pleasant alternative to painting double yellow lines around the Guildhall, lines that won’t even stop vehicles parking in front of the Guildhall because Blue Badge holders will still be able to park on them.

Next steps are to consult with the Town and Borough Councils, Faversham Society and people generally. We’ve taken some initial soundings and had positive responses. Quite rightly several people said this could only go ahead if it didn’t interrupt the market. We have had an initial meeting with the Market Manager and the idea was well received since it makes the market bigger and better by removing vehicles and parking.