April 11, 2024

MOU signing brings vision for Ouseburn a step closer

A green corridor through the heart of Newcastle has moved a step closer after key public and private sector partners agreed to take action and work together to make the Ouse Burn Way vision a reality.

Following the launch of the vision last year, Newcastle City Council, North Tyneside Council, Northumbrian Water and The Environment Agency have officially signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Reece Foundation. This marks a significant milestone in advancing The Ouse Burn Vision, bringing the creation of a green corridor in Newcastle one step closer to reality.

This green initiative, The Ouse Burn Way, will stretch from the River Tyne at Ouseburn to Weetslade Country Park and the Letch in Longbenton, possibly extending into Newcastle Great Park. The seven-mile trail will connect communities with nature, bringing long-term benefits to those living and working nearby, their water quality, well-being, as well as wildlife.

The aspiration extends beyond local boundaries, aiming to position the Ouse Burn as a national benchmark for mitigating pollution in similar urban river settings across the country.

Since the launch of the vision the Reece Foundation has been listening to the many voices who value the Ouseburn Valley, to gather input and support for the vision. The independent charitable trust wants to empower the local community to have their say, supported by funding to bring about the changes they identify.

Many organisations and over 5000 people have engaged with the project so far either by visiting the exhibition at the Farrell Centre in Newcastle, inviting speakers to community events, discovering more about the vision on the website, downloading the vision document and sharing their thoughts and suggestions with the Reece Foundation.

Anne Reece, Chair of the Reece Foundation said:

“We are delighted to see our private and public partners sharing our vision for the Ouseburn Valley. The vision for the Ouseburn Valley will improve access to nature which is so important for the well-being of Newcastle and North Tyneside.

“Since the launch we have listened to many local groups, communities and individuals who care about the Ouseburn valley. This vision is about empowering the community to help deliver it which is why we have created a fund of £1m to leverage the support this project will require.

“We are supporting The Ouse Burn Way to help realise its potential as a major recreational resource by improving the current degradation within the environment whilst also enhancing biodiversity right into the inner city and providing an area of carbon capture and natural cooling for the city. It will also ensure a green, attractive and accessible corridor is established.”

The key public and private sector partners will drive forward the development and implementation of the Vision:

  • Newcastle City Council and North Tyneside Council are active members of the partnership and have control over sections of the land that makes up The Ouse Burn Way.
  • The Environment Agency will work with the parties and develop partnerships that can deliver improvements to water quality, wildlife, flood risk reduction, amenity and secure wider benefits for the local community.
  • Northumbrian Water Limited will deliver improvements to water quality and work with the other parties to improve  flood risk reduction, amenity and ecological benefits in the Valley.
  • The Reece Foundation is a charitable organisation who has developed the Vision and are responsible for bringing the Parties together to share the common purpose of development and implementation of the Vision.

Michelle Percy, Director of Place, Newcastle City Council:

“Newcastle City Council looks forward to working together with the Reece Foundation and our other partners at the Environment Agency, North Tyneside Council and Northumbrian Water to realise the Ouseburn Way vision. 

“The vision aims strongly align with the Council’s priorities of regeneration, placemaking, economic growth, connecting the city, working towards net zero and a cleaner, greener city. 

“In particular, our Newcastle Blue Green City project offers the opportunity for shared expertise from a range of partner organisations to develop the best quality outcomes.”

Louise Hunter, Group Director of People and Corporate Services, Northumbrian Water, said:

“The Ouse Burn Way initiative is a fantastic project, and we are incredibly proud to be a part of it. 

“Much like our customers and the local community, we share a passion for a healthy Ouseburn, which is why our environmental investment plans include a £4m improvement project on storm overflows in this catchment, with a further £7m planned to improve storm overflows in the wider Ouseburn area between 2030 and 2035.

“Working together, we’re confident in being able to drive real positive environmental changes for the local area.” 

Jim Heslop, Area Environment Manager for the Environment Agency in the North East, said:

“The Ouseburn is a hugely important river at the heart of our city, and we are excited to work with others to make it even better as part of our commitment to creating a healthy water environment for nature and people.”

The Vision consolidates and links many existing ideas and current strategies for individual sections along the Ouse Burn Way with the intent that there is a cohesive approach to improvement and enhancement along the full route.

Find out more at theouseburnway.co.uk

Download our Vision Document

Our in-depth brochure outlines all of our proposed plans and aims to:

  • Define the potential of the Ouse Burn and the Letch as a major recreational resource of benefit to the residents of Tyne and Wear
  • Seek the support of all those bodies with an interest in the area to agree a comprehensive strategy that meets local and national objectives and secures the long term development and maintenance of the corridor
  • Work closely with local communities in the evolution of the project

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