Hexham Goods Yard Proposed Development

I received this email in the course of my participation in the Hexham Town Plan Economic Working Group from Judy Lloyd who is facilitating the project to visualise Hexham in 10years time.

Site Plan

Dear All,
It would be worth everyone looking at the Local development Framework
Issues and Options Document -especially sections 7 and 8-regarding
predicted retail patterns and needs between now and 2030.- .(This is
part of the consultation exercise that NCC is doing.), to see how far
the proposals seem to fit with the county’s current thoughts on future
needs).
The Goods Yard proposals put it into a very real context and the
development proposals are clearly exercising members’ minds and
emotions. It would be nice to think residents might have some chance
of influencing things with their positive suggestions and also their
concerns, although I understand some people’s scepticism.
It also raises questions as to how far Hexham will be able to rely on
either the old Tynedale Plan or the draft ideas in the new LDF doc at
the point when these proposals come to planning decision making.
Judy Lloyd

My reply to the Economics Working Group

Thanks for prompting us to go along and see for ourselves what the ‘Developers’ are planning for Hexham. We didn’t see any consideration for energy saving initiatives incorporated in the proposed scheme; in my opinion this development could be a pivotal moment for the future of Hexham.

A Homebase, Pets at Home, and Majestic Wines to be set in the standard shed type developments to be built on the old goods yard and more car parking spaces!!

What do you think?

I look forward to hearing more and hope we will be able to make a concerted effort to influence this planning proposal. Barbara Grundey

Hello all,

I am currently ploughing through a large number of e-mails going round the Hexham Civic Society list. HCS will most definitely be responding. I myself (probably more radical than some HCS members) am very concerned that the Hexham Goods Yard proposals represent the worst kind of development regarding

1.       Cycling and pedestrian access to the real Hexham and lack of encouragement to walk and cycle

2.       Built environment – another metal shed! – and next to the ancient Prosser goods shed

3.       Competition from the big-boy chain stores

Hexham Civic Society will certainly be putting in a response, and have also strongly suggested that the consultation go on longer –we asked for the drawings to be put in the Library.

 I’ll copy Pat T. into my own comments to HCS. I do hope TT members will want to get involved. 

Wendy Breach

Comments from Mary and Keith Belmont

On your behest yes we went along to the presentation by Rokeby developers in association with Network rail et al.
Many questions arise even before getting threatened by the social/economic impact this is likely to have on Hexham.
It is sold as an £8 million shot in the arm for Hexham and provides the carrots of that investment – a permanent base for Theatres sans Frontiers and more parking facilities.
When there I spoke to three or four male members of the public and the upshot was mainly we need DIY facilities in Hexham that do not close on Saturday midday and open again on Monday.
Only one of them in fact knew of the already existent garden centres and none were concerned that Rainbow Pets might be impacted.    Then there are the existing wine shops….
Add to that we were told some years ago that there is absolutely no need for parking facilities to be increased in Hexham because we have too many already.   All of a sudden we can have this!
Then the parking for cars is isolated to the retail area with absolutely nil provision for pedestrian or cycle links to the main town and no bus link interchange other than the current station facility.  This we already know does not work and the public have already complained about the large barrier to pedestrian access to the walkway to town alongside the Wentworth running track.
Add to that there are no proposed trees to be planted in and around the car parks so despite the area all around being laden in trees there will be a tree desert!
Add to that the buildings proposed are average at best.  It is very very boring and looks like any other shopping centre.  They are not custom built as you might expect for a sensitive add on to the old yard buildings which we believe have preservation orders on them. Alongside those we are to be treated to standard shabby clad warehouses which have nil level of ecological awareness. Where are the solar harvesters the windmill…the river barrage to generate power? Where is the pedestrian access through the arches under the road bridge from the station to Waitrose and the town centre?
Where are the other measures of provision that could enable a future pathway and or cyclotron along the river to Corbridge that could finally give us a safe route for pedestrians and cyclists to that town and additionally provide the amenity along the river intended 150 years ago by the original riverside changes.
Where are the inbuilt flood defences that would help the railway improve the consistency of its service too?
The rail concession we were told is up for licence renewal this year and central government has disavowed further investment to improve the service so why on the same service level do we need parking at this level.

The young lady who was on the team has only been here twice as far as I could ascertain and feels the footpath around the side of the running track to be well lit, clean, safe and well used!   Not sure I agree (Mary speaking here).   She was very persuasive however…
Surely some of the things we are proposing with the town plan could be required to be put in place as a balance, such as the arches footpath being opened up and many others -bargaining chip perhaps.
On balance any investment is good for Hexham but appropriate and forward looking is the key.
Mary and Keith

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One Response to Hexham Goods Yard Proposed Development

  1. David Grundey says:

    Hello HCS Committee and others,

    Pat Caris and I were at Wentworth on Thursday evening. Pat is trying to persuade the developers to leave the plans in Wentworth and to put copies in the Library. After all, a 5-hour consultation on such a big scheme is hardly adequate.

    I was appalled at the plans, from a heritage standpoint, competition for our local independent shops (what will happen to Rainbow Pets?) as well as with my Living Streets hat on.

    The development looks like so many add-on developments with no concessions for people to connect to the town proper. In that sense, it is just like the Tesco/Aldi area and the M&S area with all the problems those areas cause because they haven’t been thought through. People from outside Hexham may well drive into the development – just like they do to Marks and Spencer’s – but will they then come on into the town? There are no inducements for them to do so.

    I spoke at length to the Traffic Engineer who has been engaged on a solution to the goods yard area for the last 5 years, and assured us that he had considered all the possible highway solutions for access/egress and connection to the town – and had come up with – er – A DROPPED KERB next to a mini-roundabout!!!

    I, and others, were underwhelmed. Another person who regularly uses the train tried to explain to the Engineer the circuitous route, with extremely poor pedestrian provision, he has to take with his daughter in a stroller if he wishes to stop by Waitrose before going home – and even to find a route home at all with adequate road-crossing facilities.

    Neither the developers, nor NCC, nor Network Rail have offered any pedestrian/cyclist improvements for access to the railway station – only improved access for drivers has been offered. Walkers will still have to cross the road at an oft-ignored zebra crossing only to encounter a pedestrian barrier and a plethora of signage poles (try walking to the station forecourt with your umbrella up!) Government guidance urges local authorities and developers to combat road congestion and danger by giving high priority and encouragement to pedestrians and cyclists – but this is not apparent in these proposals. The solution surely lies in ‘shared space’ and making cycling, walking and public transport easier, more comfortable and more efficient.

    The proposed development relies on chain stores coming to Hexham. Do we really want Majestic Warehouse to compete with Bin 21, and Pets-at-Home to compete with Rainbow Pets? Which kind of retail development keeps profit within the town?

    Others can comment more adequately than I on the proposed new and refurbished buildings – but the thought of an ugly metal shed and acres of parking next to Prossers shed I find unconvincing.

    Best wishes,

    Wendy

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