Monday, November 8, 2010

CAMPAIGNERS HOPE WEST ROAD CAMPAIGN CAN BE PARKED FOR GOOD

It may have been a victim of Government cuts but local campaigners took the fight against the West Road scheme to the council chamber to demonstrate to councillors that many people living in the West of the city are opposed to it.

Collected over the course of a single week, the petition was signed by 128 residents – one more than responded the council’s consultation – and almost three times the number that explicitly supported the scheme.
Jason Smith, who has played a leading role in the campaign since it started, told councillors: “Although the scheme appears to have fallen victim to Government cuts, the failure of the council to recognise the lack of support for the scheme is of great concern to local people. In challenging times, this money can be better spent protecting public services.”

Presenting the petition to the council was the last act in a campaign that some claimed had no chance of success. At a local residents association meeting the following day, Jason announced that the campaign would now be halted unless the scheme is resurrected at some point in the future.

Jason said: “I would like to put on record my thanks to the many people who supported the campaign in some way. Many of us have worked hard to expose the impact this scheme would have on residential roads and Stamfordham Road.

“It is likely that a new transport campaign group will take forward the fight to bring the Metro to the Outer West of Newcastle and they will campaign for improvements to the West Road and Stamfordham Road. We will continue to be vigilant.”
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The full text of the petition is:

Stop Claiming Support for the West Road Scheme

In 2009, Newcastle City Council undertook a consultation on the controversial West Road Scheme. The council distributed 50,000 leaflets selling the purported benefits of the scheme and 127 responses were received, only 35 of which supported it. Although the scheme appears to have fallen victim to Government cuts, the failure of the council to recognise the lack of support for the scheme is of great concern to local people.


We the undersigned want to make it clear that we oppose the West Road Scheme which we believe will have a serious impact on the West Road, Stamfordham Road and create rat-runs through residential areas. We are calling on Newcastle City Council to accept that there is no public support for the West Road scheme.

The number of signatures on this petition has been limited as we simply wish to demonstrate the lack of support for the scheme. In challenging times, this money can be better spent protecting public services.

Friday, July 9, 2010

TRANSPORT SECRETARY URGED TO STOP THE WEST ROAD WASTE OF MONEY

Campaigners have stepped up the fight against the West Road scheme by writing to the Secretary of State for Transport urging him to bin this scheme.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Fight Goes on to Stop the West Road Scheme

Local campaigner Jason Smith (pictured on Stamfordham Road with Callerton Councillor Will Holloway) has vowed to continue the fight against the controversial West Road traffic plan after it was approved by Lib Dem leaders of Newcastle City Council.

Jason said: “The aim of the scheme is to drive cars off the West Road onto alternative routes by slowing non-bus speeds – but this will be done by increasing congestion.

“Liberal Democrats simply do not understand the impact the West Road scheme will have on Stamfordham Road. Residents’ concerns have so far been ignored.”

Jason added: “The campaign to stop the West Road scheme and save Stamfordham Road will only end when Lib Dem plans are parked for good. The scheme needs to be approved by Ministers before the £13 million of Government funding (10% from Newcastle City Council) is released. We have made it clear that we will fight them all the way to Whitehall.”

The Campaign Against the West Road Congestion Plan has welcomed the pledge of continued commitment from Conservatives and disappointment that Labour and Liberal Democrat Councillors have not joined the fight.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Getting the Outer West Back on Track


The Campaign Against the West Road Congestion Plan has welcomed the launch of a campaign by Newcastle Conservatives to bring the Tyne and Wear Metro to the Outer West of Newcastle.

Jason Smith, Westerhope spokesman for Newcastle Conservatives, who has taken a leading role in the Campaign Against the West Road Congestion Plan launched the campaign to reinstate parts of the Tyne Valley Line closed as a result of the Beeching Cuts in 1958.
Residents of the Outer West have no access to the Metro, despite contributing through Nexus to the running of the Metro system.

Jason Smith, who is also Chairman of Newcastle Conservatives, said: “We have now demonstrated that Newcastle City Council’s unpopular plans for the West Road will cause problems on the West Road and alternative routes from the Outer West to the city centre. Despite this, Liberal Democrats seem determined to press ahead with their plans.

“The council’s plans for the West Road lack ambition, will create congestion and, as a result of traffic stopping and starting on the road, carbon emissions will increase. Local Conservatives have called for more park and ride facilities across the city to make public transport a positive alternative to using cars. The West Road scheme will not deliver this.

“The development of a light rail or tram service to the Outer West, connected in some way to Park and Ride facilities, would be an attractive alternative for many commuters. Residents of the Outer West simply do not want to see the West Road scheme come to fruition; what they want is to see the Metro come to the area.

“Residents of the Outer West are paying towards the £22million cost of running Metro Operations and £300million for the re-invigoration of the Metro system, which we do not have access to. The Government and Nexus found the money to extend the Metro to the airport and Sunderland. Surely, it is time to bring the Metro in reach of the 80,000 people who live in or near the West End of Newcastle.

“Labour and Liberal Democrat Councillors are faced with a choice. They can unite with us to campaign for a real improvement to public transport in the Outer West or can continue to ignore the needs of people living in the Outer West.”

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Local Councillors will not be forgiven if they put Party ahead of residents

Local Conservatives have repeated their call for Liberal Democrat Councillors in the West End of Newcastle to join Conservatives and local residents in campaigning against the West Road Congestion Corridor.

The call follows publication of the notes of a meeting of Liberal Democrat Councillors in February, which shows clearly that councillors in the West End share the concerns of those campaigning against the West Road Congestion Corridor. Councillors concerns included:

  • There are too few buses in many parts of the West End, linking to key locations;
  • The West Road scheme will have a significant impact on the major mode of transport for many people in Newburn Ward;
  • There is a perceived lack of consultation about previous stages of the West Road scheme;
  • Traffic could be dispersed onto other routes and create rat-runs;
  • If the scheme goes ahead, the West Road may cease to exist as a shopping destination.

Jason Smith, Chairman of Newcastle Conservatives, said: “It seems that Liberal Democrat Councillors share our concerns about the Liberal Democrat plans for the West Road. Why are they remaining silent?

“Local residents will not forgive any councillor who puts their party’s interests ahead of theirs.

“Conservatives have made it clear that we believe these plans will cause congestion on the West Road and traffic displaced onto Stamfordham Road will result in more congestion there and slower, less reliable buses for people in many parts of Westerhope and Denton Wards. Conservatives are fighting to stop this scheme and will work with any councillor who wants to join the battle.”

Monday, May 25, 2009

Westerhope Councillor: Is This the Best Value Scheme Newcastle Can Offer?

The Campaign Against the West Road Congestion Plan has today revealed that a Westerhope Councillor expressed concern about the perceived lack of consultation about previous stages of the West Road scheme.

Councillor Donnelly also asked whether the West Road scheme could be seen as a subsidy to Stagecoach and would stakeholders benefit. He asked whether this would disperse traffic to other areas and was this scheme the best that Newcastle could offer.

Maureen Smith of the Campaign Against the West Road Congestion Plan said: “I find it incredible that, in the notes of a council meeting, Councillor Donnelly seemed to have serious reservations about the scheme. Yet during a Ward Committee meeting, he made it clear that he would not submit an objection to the plans.

“Will Westerhope Councillors join the campaign or continue to stand by plans that will have such a devastating impact on Westerhope Ward?”

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Fenham Councillors: West Road May Cease to Exist as a Shopping Destination

The Campaign Against the West Road Congestion Plan has today revealed that a Fenham Councillor shares the concern of local campaigners about potential rat-running along roads such as Lanercost Drive and Fenham Hall Drive.

Councillor Daglish also has concerns that if the West Road scheme goes ahead, the West Road may cease to exist as a shopping destination.

Maureen Smith of the Campaign Against the West Road Congestion Plan said: “Clearly, Liberal Democrat Councillors in Fenham Ward share our concerns about the Liberal Democrats’ West Road scheme. Residents will be surprised to learn that they have expressed concerns behind closed doors, but have not taken a stand against the plans.

“Will Fenham Councillors join the campaign or stay quiet while the council destroys the quality of life for residents of their ward?”