Cath Scaife, Tim Bailey and Tim Clark (The Tanners Arms)

Member Article

Shaping public highways improvements

Xsite continues to shape the world on its doorstep

The award-winning Ouseburn-based xsite architecture is continuing to help shape the world on its doorstep with the announcement of the formal start of public consultation to a package of public highways improvements around the Lime Street, Stepney Bank and Stepney Road area of the city.

Tim Bailey, xsite’s founding partner, has been working on the proposals known as DIY Streets for 18 months with Newcastle City Council, the voluntary community organisation Ouseburn Futures and Sustrans, a UK charity which promotes healthier, cleaner and cheaper journeys.

In the Stepney Bank area, the proposed improvements will create a public space outside the Tanners Arms public house, widen footpaths, improve pavement surfaces and identify clear parking bays along the length of the street. This will result in slower traffic speeds, making it easier for pedestrians, cyclists and horses from Stepney Bank Stables to get around safely.

In the Lime Street area a widened footway is proposed along with safety measures to reduce traffic speed and at Stepney Road, leading to Stepney Bank, a further series of traffic calming measures is proposed.

Funding for the improvements, which has come from the city council after it won a £5.6m grant in 2013 from the Department of Transport’s Cycle City Ambition Fund, forms part of a ten-year plan to improve routes and facilities and to make Newcastle a ‘city fit for cycling’.

Cath Scaife of Ouseburn Futures, said: “local businesses, residents and visitors to the area have shaped these plans, and there’s a lot of enthusiasm for creating safe, friendly spaces for pedestrians and cyclists. We’ve run street trials to test the ideas out, and are pleased that the plans are now reaching the formal consultation stage. If they’re given the green light they will make a very positive difference to the area. Xsite has played a key role in getting us to this stage and we are most grateful for their support, local area knowledge and planning expertise.”

DIY Streets is just one of a number of projects on its doorstep in which the architectural practice has been involved.

Two years ago xsite received numerous awards for its outstanding refurbishment of the Toffee Factory.

More recently, the firm was responsible for the £5m redevelopment of the Maling Exchange for Hoults Estate and is currently involved in the redevelopment of Lower Steenberg Yard for Carillion Igloo, which incorporates 34 homes and 800 sqm of business space.

The proposed redevelopment of James Place Street for the Ouseburn Trust, which would regenerate the area next to The Cumberland Arms with new housing, self-build sites and commercial units, is at pre-planning stage.

Mr Bailey commented: “The Ouseburn is fast becoming one of the most diverse and exciting parts of the city. These latest developments of homes, workshops, commercial space and cyclist and pedestrian-friendly routeways create a massive draw for new residents to the city.

“With our close working relationship with the city council and Ouseburn Futures, we feel we are very much part of the community and participate in a wide range of performance and cultural events too. The Ouseburn area continues to be a rich source of regeneration projects which are a key strength of the practice, while the DIY Streets project demonstrates our commitment to working and being in the Ouseburn Valley.”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Leigh Chelton .

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