Online Archive  
Issue 12 - May 1973
Where Do The Children Play?











Well I think it's fine building jumbo planes,
I'm taking a ride on a cosmic train.
Switch on summer from a slot machine,
Yes, get what you want to, if you want,
'cos you can get anything.
I know we've come a long way,
We're changing day to day,
But tell me where do the children play?

Cat Stevens

Gateshead is trickling with rumours and perhaps this will help turn those rumours into floods. People are talking about a road; a new four lane, motorway standard road which will drastically change one part of the town's already heavily scarred face.

To be more specific, this road will damage beyond repair what has been, and still is, one of the nicest parts of the town. Without being sensationalist, let's take a look at the affected buildings.

Firstly, and this goes without saying, a lot of houses are going to disappear. We have the feeling that Gateshead Council is already 'commandeering' land. Then: we have a four-lane highway along the top of Saltwell Park, infringing approximately 150 feet into the park boundary at the worst point; meaning that the promenade walk next to the technical college will have to go. Next: a slight north-eastern turn which takes our path directly across the park entrance nearest the Little Theatre, according to the plan a slip-road goes through the theatre, too. Outraged? Angry? There's more to come.

The road will then destroy a few more houses, part if not all of the tennis hard courts of Saltwell Senior High School (opposite St Georges church); still heading northward our road ploughs nonchalantly through the small but pleasant park opposite the Shipley Art Gallery, and through a similar small and pleasant park opposite the Gateshead Municipal Library. A slip road will be placed about 70 feet from the Shipley Gallery in combination with an overpass.

Where will all the parks have gone? Doubtless the planners will total up all the grass verges beside the proposed road and tell us that there will be even MORE grass, even MORE trees. The actual acreage of Saltwell Park taken up by the road would be about ten per cent of the large open field; but people go to the park to get away from roads and carbon monoxide gases.

Is this road really going to help traffic congestion at all? Although planned for the 1980s, will not such roads as the proposed Low Felling bypass or the Western bypass (which will ultimately join up with the new Redheugh bridge) alleviate the already deadly section of Low Fell High Street? What will be gained? We know what we have to lose.

Photos: Rik Walton