Tuesday, July 04, 2017
Renovated in time to be demolished
It was good to see renovation work taking place on the entrance to Whickham's Chase Park yesterday. The Heritage Lottery Fund is investing £1 million to bring the historic park back up to scratch. The renovation work includes restoration of the entrance and stone gateposts on Rectory Lane. All great stuff. But.......
Some of this renovation work could be in vain. Labour in Gateshead are eager to sell part of Chase Park for housing. They have declared the former depot and stable blocks as surplus to requirements. They've thrown into the deal the entrance to the park as well.
This is a prime location in the heart of Whickham and it is unlikely that there will be a lack of interest from developers. The key to any development is the entrance. Without that, the development will never happen. The entrance is a single lane so it will have to be widened. That's why Labour are flogging off the verge to the right of the lane, right up to the high boundary wall on the right of the entrance - see photo above.
That means the lovingly restored gatepost on the right will need to be demolished. This is a conservation zone as well and the gateway is an historic part of the area.
Lib Dem councillors are fighting the plans to sell off the people's park and stop Labour's heritage vandalism. The issue is relevant across the whole Gateshead. If Labour get away with selling Chase Park for housing, other parks will come into their sights as well.