Jesmond North by-election candidates back cyclists' calls for Osborne Road to be access-only

Labour, Lib Dem, Green, Conservative and UKIP representatives promise to address busy route

Osborne Road
Osborne Road

Osborne Road should be an access only road for Jesmond rather than a route for through-traffic, according to election candidates discussing the topic at a hustings event.

How to tackle traffic on the busy street was top of the agenda at Jesmond library when representatives of five political parties vying for the North Jesmond seat were grilled by a packed public gallery.

The transport-focused event was organised by city cycling campaign Newcycling and featured Conservative Duncan Crute, Liberal Democrat Gerry Keating, Ukip’s Daniel Thompson, Labour’s Peter Smith and Shehla Naqvi of the Green Party.

All five panellists said more action needed to be taken to stop Osborne Road being used as a through-road in an effort to make it more attractive to cyclists and pedestrians - in addition to ongoing hopes for a 20mph speed limit.

Katja Leyendecker, Newcycling chair, said: “A lot of the people driving on the road do not live anywhere in Jesmond. They are simply travelling through and they only take away from the area rather than give.

“All the candidates said Osborne Road should not be for through-traffic and should be an access only route. It was good to hear.”

Options to improve Acorn Road were again discussed, while the candidates also said if elected they would back the nationwide Space for Cycling campaign.

Sally Watson, who is leading Newcycling’s Jesmond branch, added: “Osborne Road is often mentioned but the focus seems to very much be on Acorn Road. Nevertheless, everybody is aware there is a problem there and we need to discourage motorists just passing through.

“There are ways to design a road which wouldn’t require closing it off but we need to do something to put people off.”

Speaking after the event, Labour’s Peter Smith said Osborne Road was crucial to the future of Jesmond.

He explained: “As I understand it the 20mph limit will happen eventually but it needs to be a road for access, and that was widely agreed.”

Meanwhile, Miss Leyendecker said the event was promising but she was disappointed at the make-up of the audience.

She said: “In the future we have to try to engage certain younger groups - families and students - to get involved in discussions about the future of Jesmond because this is their home too.”


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