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Discussion Starter #1
Apologies if this already has a thread, but I haven't found one...

Well, in short, I was wondering what everyone here would do if they were solely in charge of the future of the Town Moor? Do you agree with it staying as-is, being grazed by the Freemen's cattle, or should we make more use of it? If the latter, what would you do?
 

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this is controversial and it would open up a huge can of worms, but i think it is simply too big for the city, especially when you also have nun's moor and leazes park. i'd built blocks of euro style apartment buildings or edinburgh style tenements either side of the great north road and shift the allotments up by ilford road.

i'd also portion off some of the land for to be redeveloped according to olmstead principles - ie shaded walkways, forests, undulations in height, winding secluded pathways, follies such as pagodas etc, the kind of thing you see in places like Central Park. just to make sure it is seen as an active park with visual and landscaped interest rather than a big empty void.

obviously this would be pretty much impossible due to local nimbys, press, and people shouting out T Dan Smith accusations of selling off public land for profit. and tbf people would have a point, just where do you draw the line or make sure that the whole thing doesnt get sold off?

Anyway here's a quick sketch at the kind of thing id like to see, only redeveloping a small sliver for buildings and leaving the bulk as undisturbed land:

 

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I'd quite like to see the area developed like the image below. With just the main part of the moor remaining, which I think is large enough. The red could be housing, and I thought the part that is yellow would be quite good as a student village due to its proximity to Castle Leazes.



I think this would be a natural extension of the built up housing areas around the town moor.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I'll maybe do a diagram some other time, but I would actually keep the bits of the moor that are closest to the surrounding neighbourhoods - for instance the West Jesmond playing fields and allotments - as they are. It's because you can walk straight onto them from the nearby housing that means that these bits are currently well used.

For me, it's the main section in the middle, which is cut off to many people by busy main roads with few crossings, that needs to be brought into use.

I'm not sure that I would build on the moor, but it should be landscaped to make it attractive to people to use it. A few small woods (well away from any main paths), maybe an orchard or two, allotments (there's a cronic shortage of these in the city), some areas with cut grass so people can play football or sunbathe, Olmstead style landscaping as Johnny says, etc. At least there should be trees planted alongside the paths to make walking across the moor a slightly less barren experience. Take the example of the Stray in Harrogate as a great example.

I should add that there should also be large areas set aside just as they are, but the original idea of the Town Moor being kept for the benefit of the people has blatantly been lost by the Freemen.
 

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I'll maybe do a diagram some other time, but I would actually keep the bits of the moor that are closest to the surrounding neighbourhoods - for instance the West Jesmond playing fields and allotments - as they are. It's because you can walk straight onto them from the nearby housing that means that these bits are currently well used.

For me, it's the main section in the middle, which is cut off to many people by busy main roads with few crossings, that needs to be brought into use.

I'm not sure that I would build on the moor, but it should be landscaped to make it attractive to people to use it. A few small woods (well away from any main paths), maybe an orchard or two, allotments (there's a cronic shortage of these in the city), some areas with cut grass so people can play football or sunbathe, Olmstead style landscaping as Johnny says, etc. At least there should be trees planted alongside the paths to make walking across the moor a slightly less barren experience. Take the example of the Stray in Harrogate as a great example.

I should add that there should also be large areas set aside just as they are, but the original idea of the Town Moor being kept for the benefit of the people has blatantly been lost by the Freemen.

Now that sounds like a good idea.
 

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There have been plans to 'do something' with parts of the Town Moor, in the past.

These plans are from 1966, shown in the Evening Chronicle of September 10th 1982 . .

 

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I'll maybe do a diagram some other time, but I would actually keep the bits of the moor that are closest to the surrounding neighbourhoods - for instance the West Jesmond playing fields and allotments - as they are. It's because you can walk straight onto them from the nearby housing that means that these bits are currently well used.

For me, it's the main section in the middle, which is cut off to many people by busy main roads with few crossings, that needs to be brought into use.

I'm not sure that I would build on the moor, but it should be landscaped to make it attractive to people to use it. A few small woods (well away from any main paths), maybe an orchard or two, allotments (there's a cronic shortage of these in the city), some areas with cut grass so people can play football or sunbathe, Olmstead style landscaping as Johnny says, etc. At least there should be trees planted alongside the paths to make walking across the moor a slightly less barren experience. Take the example of the Stray in Harrogate as a great example.

I should add that there should also be large areas set aside just as they are, but the original idea of the Town Moor being kept for the benefit of the people has blatantly been lost by the Freemen.
I fully agree with this - the existing areas which are best used are those closest to existing housing, and so their development would have the biggest negative impact on existing residents. However, the main part of the Town Moor is a vast area which is less well used, and would be deserving of some active management rather than just leaving it as is. I guess some research into how the space is used would let us know which areas would be best for any potential future development, but allowing some form of development on part of the land would then create a pot of funds which could be reinvested into improving the remainder of the area.
 

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I remember reading that the Town Moor is bigger than Hyde Park and St. James' Park(london) put together. I've told that to a friend of mine from London and he simply didn't believe me, possibly because Hyde Park and St. James's Park have stuff in them, and the town moor is just a field. I read on one of Historian's excellent posts recently about a jubilee exhibition, which included some kind of smaller version of the crystal paalce, and landscaping and stuff. There's just exhibition park now, which is ok, but pretty small. I've always thought it would be a great way of expanding the city suburbs, by creating upmarket townhouses/ apartments around the edges, and landscaping it, similar to how people have mentioned earlier, but maybe with a more urban tilt. The idea being similar to a Hyde Park or Central Park, but obviously not with as big and grand buildings round the sides, as let's face it, this is Newcastle. The problem being I can't see how this can be done without making the Great North Road even worse than it already is, or filling the moor with tons of extra road systems. Nice thought though, as there isn't really a need for acres and acres of grazing land in the city centre! We could keep a small part of it as this maybe, or just do as the stadium, and pay ground rent to the Freemen for the pleasure. I'm sure that would keep their cows happy!
 

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I remember reading that the Town Moor is bigger than Hyde Park and St. James' Park(london) put together. I've told that to a friend of mine from London and he simply didn't believe me, possibly because Hyde Park and St. James's Park have stuff in them, and the Town Moor is just a field.

I read on one of Historian's excellent posts recently about a Jubilee Exhibition, which included some kind of smaller version of the Crystal Palace, and landscaping and stuff.

There's just Exhibition Park now, which is ok but pretty small.

There was the 1897 'Diamond Jubilee Exhibition' on 'Bull Park' (now called Exhibition Park) and in 1908 there was the 'Royal Agricultural Show' there. Both of these had substantial buildings (as you describe) and information on both of these can be found in the INDEX under N for "North East Coast Exhibition".

The reason they are linked under that heading, is because the 1929 North East Coast Exhibition was the biggest one of the lot . . .



The 1929 North East Coast Exhibition, Exhibition Park, Newcastle.




NB - If anyone has any difficulty reading any part of the above newspaper article, I am happy to do enlargements . . .

.
 

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I do feel the scale of the Town Moor is way way too big for the size of the city centre. It woukld not be so bad if there were boating lakes, small golf course, plantation etc but all it is in essence is a selection of HUGE fields. Whilst I would never condone concreting the lot I do feel there is scope to develop it into a base for leisure and also some commercial/residential, peopel would pay a premium to live there if it were developed sympathetically with lots of foliage, things to do! I have never understood why we dont have large open air concerts on the moor. Seems like a missed opportunity to me, tbh I actually think in the winter it looks rather grim when I drive past it on the way home from work, I certainly would not want my wife walking across it in the dark!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
If the Town Moor was ever developed in part for housing it'd be a real shame if it was just a load of expensive housing. Why should the rich always get the best spots? As the city owns the land for free, it'd be a once-in-a-century (or more) opportunity to develop a truely socially and environmentally sustainable, mixed development.

I know we're always taught to try to maximise profit in order to make developments financially viable, but I'd have thought that this would be the one chance the city would have to be able to by-pass this necessity.
 

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I do feel the scale of the Town Moor is way way too big for the size of the city centre. It woukld not be so bad if there were boating lakes, small golf course, plantation etc but all it is in essence is a selection of HUGE fields. Whilst I would never condone concreting the lot I do feel there is scope to develop it into a base for leisure and also some commercial/residential, peopel would pay a premium to live there if it were developed sympathetically with lots of foliage, things to do! I have never understood why we dont have large open air concerts on the moor. Seems like a missed opportunity to me, tbh I actually think in the winter it looks rather grim when I drive past it on the way home from work, I certainly would not want my wife walking across it in the dark!
Totally agree, we could have one of the best music festivals anywhere in the UK during the summer on the town moor. I wonder why no one has ever thought of this?
 

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Totally disagree Anger I'm afraid! It's just not the site for that. Your question of 'why do the rich get all the best spots? Er, same reason they get the best cars, best TVs etc. Because good stuff costs more money. There's an opportunity to create an extension to the areas of Gosforth and Jesmond, which are both high end markets. If you start filling it up with social housing, then those expensive roads in Gosforth fronting onto the moor become not so nice. I'm not suggesting that it should all be big detached dwellings with massive gardens, more that it should have a semi-urban feel, and be quite dense (around the moor that is). I'm also not saying that there's no opportunity for some affordable flats, but they should be integrated very well, and the majority posh places. I've not got my developer hat on for that, couldn't give a toss about how much money is made through the development, it's more about creating a desirable area, and not damaging the existing ones. They should have just sacked NGP in and put some houses here!

On the open air music front I think Newcastle shot themselves in the foot with the whole Love Parade thing. That's another great opportunity the city's had that we've completely ballsed up. Nothing to do with London favouring London, just NIMBYs and busy-bodies worrying about a bit of litter and noise FFS!

Kieron, you mention golf courses and boating lakes? And I give you Newcastle United Golf Club, and the lake in Exhibition Park, both actually part of the Town Moor as far as I'm aware. Which just goes to show how ridiculously big an area it actually is! There's also an unused crazy golf course in exhibition park isn't there?! I say stick in some playing pitches, a bridleway network, some woods, orchards, nice allotments, parkside cafes and restaurants, artwork, more lakes, play areas....any more for any more....??!?
 

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It is not going to be built on.

It is technically public property but it is controlled by the Freemen, not the council. They are fiercely protective of it and will not contemplate building on it. It would be a significant battle to get them to agree to "green space improvements" of the type mentioned.
 

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I appreciate that this is a totally rhetorical debate anyway, but I just wanted to pick up on the idea of nice market housing with some affordable flats included - that would totally go against the general principles of trying to integrate affordable housing into sites. I bet that the vast majority of affordable housing actually needed in Newcastle is family housing, not 2 bed flats. Given that viability/cost is usually the key factor in delivering affordable housing, using publicly owned land for it seems the most sensible option. I'm not saying that it should be 100% affordable, but a "tenure blind" development where the affordable family housing is not in any way differentiated from the market housing would be a far more sensible way to go.

At the end of the day, if the Moor were ever to be built on, those relatively few houses fronting on to it would drop in value regardless of what's built there, and the fact that some of it is affordable housing would quite frankly be for the greater good!

As it is, general green space improvements to make the whole Town Moor more usable would be of most use, but it's obviously a case of trying to find funding then.
 

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Yeah forgot about Exhibition Park. I really like Richmond Park in Surrey, tbh there aint much there but there is a beautiful plantation there and cycle routes for people to use. Sports facilities would be great eg tennis courts/bowling greens manybe even an entire leisure complex.
The Love Parade issue really gets on my tits! It was a fantastic opportunity to show the rest of the UK we are capable of holding such a special event and what happens?they pull the event on the Thursday before the event!!!!Mind you it was good that many of the events in the clubs still went ahead, I had a great weekend!!!What I remember!
 

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It is not going to be built on.

It is technically public property but it is controlled by the Freemen, not the council. They are fiercely protective of it and will not contemplate building on it. It would be a significant battle to get them to agree to "green space improvements" of the type mentioned.
Rather archaic I feel, I mean c'mon its a little OTT that they won't entertain development, however big/small. The fact of the matter is its a huge piece of land totally under used by the public. Surely using it for leisure purposes allowing the wider community to use it is beter than a few cows using it and a travelling fair for two weeks of the year:bash:
 

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Rather archaic I feel, I mean c'mon its a little OTT that they won't entertain development, however big/small. The fact of the matter is its a huge piece of land totally under used by the public. Surely using it for leisure purposes allowing the wider community to use it is beter than a few cows using it and a travelling fair for two weeks of the year:bash:
Couldnt agree more. These 'Freemen' need to wind their necks in imo.
 
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