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'Gin closet' plan for former city centre toilets

Daniel Holland

Local Democracy Reporter

A second disused public toilet in Newcastle city centre could soon be tranformed into a bar.

Plans have been submitted to turn the former female loos on High Bridge Street into one of the smallest gin bars in the country.

If granted planning permission by the city council, The Gin Closet would offer a "cool selection" of artisan gin and tonics and host up to 30 customers at a time.

Developer WC Newcastle Ltd is already already building a wine bar in the disused men's toilets on the nearby Bigg Market.

Former toilets on High Bridge
Artist's impression of new bar

Traffic return to Salters Bridge

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Daniel Holland

Traffic has returned to a Newcastle rat run for the first time in two years.

Salters Bridge in Gosforth was reopened on Sunday to help relieve congestion during disruptive roadworks on the nearby Killingworth Road commuter route.

Residents had pleaded with Newcastle City Council to keep the bridge shut permanently, and say that they are already plagued by dangerous speeding, long queues, and "stand-offs" between aggressive drivers.

They have also spotted a huge lorry and a cement truck crossing the Grade I-listed ancient monument, something the council has called “incredibly reckless”.

Audrey Macnaughton, of the Garden Village Action Group, says traffic levels are not yet back to their worst but that speeding and tailgating are posing major concerns.

Pollution monitors on Hollywood Avenue have also shown a massive spike in harmful emissions.

The council says that CCTV cameras will be installed on the bridge and that footage of any offences will be sent to Northumbria Police.

Salters Bridge

Police dog sniffs out illicit cigarette stash

Anthony Day

BBC Newcastle

Thousands of illegal cigarettes have been found in a shop in Newcastle thanks to the keen nose of sniffer dog called Scamp.

He uncovered 6,000 of them in a hidden compartment in a toilet at a shop in Byker.

Council bosses say criminals are going to alarming lengths to conceal their illegal products but they're no match for the dogs used by the police and trading standards.


Cannabis and nitrous oxide canisters found at student party house

Legal notices have been served on a student house in Newcastle after police were called to a house party.

Earlier this month officers had to force entry to the party in Jesmond after reports up to 100 students had barricaded themselves inside.

Once inside police found smoke detectors had been covered up and windows and doors had been blocked off, presenting a potential fire risk.

When officers from Newcastle City Council and Northumbria Police revisited the address to issue legal notices on the occupants, they discovered cannabis and approximately 240 nitrous oxide cannisters inside the house.

A digital campaign #SaferPartying is being relaunched to encourage the city’s student population to be aware of the risks of large house parties

We don’t want to be a council which says students can’t have fun. Newcastle is a city of destination for students due to our excellent universities, but we really do expect people to show common sense and respect."

Councillor Nick KempNewcastle City Council cabinet member for Environment and Regulatory Services

Road remains closed after suspected shooting

Investigations are continuing into a suspected shooting in Washington yesterday afternoon.

A 28-year-old man was found with what have been described as potentially life threatening injuries on Blue House Lane in Washington at 14:00.

Police said the victim was believed to have been in an altercation outside the One Stop store when the shooting happened.

Two men have been arrested on suspicion of wounding with intent to commit grievous bodily harm.

A Northumbria force spokesman said that as a result Blue House Lane remained closed between Albany Way and the roundabout at Havannah Road.

Drivers have been urged to avoid the area and find an alternative route.

Christmas market expands, despite local traders' concerns

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Daniel Holland

The expansion of Newcastle Christmas markets has been confirmed - despite concerns from local traders.

It means the market will almost double in size as it extends from Grey's Monument to Blackett and Northumberland street and will run for an extra week.

But traders in Grainger Market in the city expressed concerns over the added competition during the Christmas period.

Despite the objections, Newcastle City Council gave new operator Mellors Group - which also runs Nottingham Christmas markets - green light to revamp the market.

Stalls at the market in Nottingham, which is run by Mellors group
Mellors group

Some of the attractions this year include a 30m tobbogan slide where riders can slide down Blackett Street in tubes and a traditional carousel.

Councillor Ged Bell, cabinet member for employment and culture, said: “I very much look forward to welcoming these markets to the city and am confident they will position Newcastle as a major festive destination, one to rival other national and European cities."

The market will take place between 16 November and 24 December.

Parents face eviction as children 'terrorise' community

More than a dozen parents have been warned they could face eviction if their children continue to terrorise the local community.

Police visited 13 addresses in West Denton in Newcastle on Wednesday over reports of anti-social behaviour in an area known as the "D Roads", where teenagers have been drinking and smoking drugs.

The young people intimidated members of the public, left litter and caused a significant amount of criminal damage, Northumbria Police said.

The majority of those responsible are teenagers, but there has been a report about a nine-year-old boy as well.

Police visit West Denton properties over reports of anti-social behaviour by teenagers
Getty Images

Neighbourhood Sgt Ashley Palmer said the behaviour "left the area looking like an eye sore".

She said: “If these children don’t start to change their ways then we will be left with no option but to move them out of the area to prevent further disorder from taking place."

The ‘D Roads’ focuses on a number of streets in West Denton including Dayshield, Dunstan Walk, Darden Lough, Downham and Deerbush.

Man in critical condition after Washington shooting

A 28-year-old man is in a critical condition after a suspected shooting in Washington.

It happened at about 14:00 today.

It is believed the man had an argument with someone outside the One Stop on Blue House Lane when he was shot.

No arrests have been made, Northumbria Police said.

Call for drinking fountains to return to Newcastle

BBC Newcastle

There are calls for water fountains to be brought back into use in Newcastle city centre.

Hundreds of people have signed a petition asking for 10 to be reactivated, including one in the Bigg Market.

Campaigners claim they help the environment by cutting the numbers of plastic bottles being used.

Newcastle City Council said it welcomed the idea and was working with partners to try and find a way of paying for the reactivation and maintenance costs.

drinking fountain
Getty Images

Man dies in multi-vehicle collision

A man died in a collision in Darlington this morning.

The crash involved a number of vehicles, including a bus, and happened on the A167 at Beamount Hill at about 06:45.

The man was confirmed dead at the scene and a woman was taken to hospital with serious injuries.

Durham Police is advising people to avoid the area as the road is likely to be closed for a number of hours while an investigation is carried out.

It is appealing for anyone who witnessed the crash to get in touch, particularly any passengers on the bus and anyone with dashcam footage.

Fresh delays for motorists on busy Newcastle road route

Julie Cush

BBC News

Motorists using a notoriously busy route in Newcastle are facing 10 weeks of delays.

Killingworth Road, in South Gosforth, was closed in July 2017 for a £13.5m scheme to install a new Metro rail bridge and widen the road.


After a number of delays it reopened in July this year, but from today temporary traffic lights will be in place for more work to be completed.

Newcastle City Council said work on the road would be finished next spring.

A spokeswoman for the council said due to "particularly disruptive" construction on the route, temporary traffic lights would be installed to restrict traffic between the Haddricks Mill junction and the Killingworth Road Metro bridge until mid-December.

Councils to miss clean air deadline again

Daniel Holland

Local Democracy Reporter

Tyneside councils will miss the government’s deadline to finalise plans for cutting illegal levels of air pollution for a third time.

Ministers had threatened legal action against Newcastle, Gateshead, and North Tyneside councils if they do not submit their final designs for a controversial Clean Air Zone (CAZ) by 12 November.

But with a six-week public consultation on the latest plans yet to begin, that date will not be met – though the authorities insist the delay will ultimately have no impact on the anti-pollution tolls coming into force in January 2021.

Under the latest proposals, coaches, buses and lorries will be charged £50 daily to drive into Newcastle city centre if they do not meet emissions standards. High-polluting taxis and vans will also pay £12.50, but private cars have been made exempt for now.

Consultation on the plan was due to begin by the end of September, but the councils say that has been pushed back due to delays in legal advice.

Councillors should have been voting to approve the CAZ at meetings in early November, but that vote could now be pushed back to January unless a set of extraordinary meetings are scheduled before then.

Traffic travelling across the Tyne Bridge
Getty Images

CCTV plea over serious injury hit and run

Detectives investigating a hit and run which left a man with serious injuries have asked Sunderland residents to check their CCTV footage.

The 33-year-old had to be placed in an induced coma after suffering serious injuries to his legs and spine, when he was struck by a car on Ramillies Road at 03:20 on Tuesday.

The vehicle - believed to be a silver Renault later found in a car park in Roedean Road - left the scene and police are attempting to track down the driver.

Scene of the hit and run
Northumbria Police

Det Con Patrick Keenan, of Northumbria Police said: “At this stage, we believe those involved were known to each other and officers continue to carry out house-to-house inquiries as part of the ongoing investigation.

“The incident happened in a busy area of the city and a number of private CCTV cameras will have been in operation on the morning in question.

"We are now asking members of the public to check their footage and bring anything of interest forward to officers."

BreakingNorth Tyneside stabbing: Man charged with attempted murder

A man has been charged with two counts of attempted murder after a mother and her baby suffered life-threatening injuries in a stabbing in North Tyneside on Wednesday afternoon.

The pair - a 21-year-old woman and her three-week-old son - were found inside an address at about 14:15.

The mother is in stable condition, but the baby remains critically ill in hospital.

Denis Erdinch Beytula, 27, of North Tyneside will appear at North Tyneside Magistrates' Court today.

Police patrols in the area continue.

Woman dies in collision in Blyth

Anna Snowdon

BBC Local Live

A 21-year-old woman died in a two-vehicle collision in Blyth, Northumberland, last night.

At 20:20 police received a report of a collision involving a yellow Skoda Fabia and an HGV on Coniston Road.

The female passenger of the Skoda was taken to hospital, where she was later pronounced dead. Her family is being supported by specialist offices, Northumbria Police said.

Neither the male driver of the Skoda nor the driver of the HGV were seriously injured.

A man has been arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving and he remains in custody.

CCTV pole damaged by power tool

Two men tried to cut down a CCTV camera pole using a power tool, police said.

The pair were reported to Northumbria Police as acting suspiciously in the Tynemouth Road area of Wallsend shortly after 03:00.

A police spokesman said after causing extensive damage to the metal but with the pole still standing, they left the scene.

An investigation has been launched to identify those involved.

Melissa Tate death: More than £8,000 raised for family

More than £8,000 has been raised for the family of a 10-year-old girl killed when she was hit by a car in Newcastle.

Melissa Tate was struck by a car on Hillsview Avenue, Kenton, on Wednesday evening. She was taken to hospital, but died on Thursday

Melissa Tate
Family Photo

At the weekend Connor Marsden appeared in court charged with causing death by dangerous driving and other offences.

The 23-year-old appeared was remanded in custody to appear on 28 October.

Mr Marsden, of Ambridge Way, Kenton, Newcastle, faces charges of causing death by driving while uninsured, causing death by driving while not having a licence, failure to report to police following an accident, driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence and driving without insurance.

Man killed in Northumberland A1 crash

A man died in a crash on the A1 in Northumberland yesterday.

A number of vehicles were involved in the collision near Belford at about 18:15.

Thomas Allen, 38, from Throckley, was driving a Nissan Note on the road northbound when it was involved in a collision with a Toyota Auris, travelling the other way. His car also then collided with an Audi Q5.

Mr Allen died at the scene and Northumbria Police said their thoughts were with his family.

A man and woman in the Toyota are in a critical but stable condition in hospital. Two young children also in the car were taken to hospital with minor injuries.

Sgt Pinner Rana, of Northumbria Police’s motor patrols department, described it as a "devastating incident". The road was closed for more than eight hours.

Tory conference: Durham to become home to a new 'maths school'

The Education Secretary has said that a new "maths school" is to open in Durham.

Gavin Williamson gave details about the school in his speech at the Conservative party conference in Manchester.

He said: "I can announce today that we are working with Durham University and Durham Sixth Form College to open a new maths school there.

"We will open in total 11 of these to start with, at least one in every single region of England."

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson
PA Media

Two arrested as 10-year-old seriously hurt in collision

A 10-year-old girl is in hospital with life-threatening injuries after a suspected hit-and-run in Newcastle last night.

It happened at 18:40 when a vehicle hit the girl on Hillsview Avenue, Kenton.

The car stopped nearby shortly after the crash but the driver fled the scene on foot, Northumbria Police said.

A vehicle has been seized and two women, aged 31 and 28, have been arrested on suspicion of perverting the course of justice.

They remain in police custody.

Hillsview Avenue

John Littlewood death: Four charged with murder

Four people have been charged with murdering a County Durham dad.

John Littlewood, 36, was found injured at a house in Third Street in Blackhall Colliery, near Hartlepool, on 30 July.

James Riley, 30 and Donna Balfour, 35, both of Ninth Street, and Marty Bates, 29, and Tracey Bunney, 44, both of Tenth Street, all Blackhall Colliery, have been remanded in custody.

All four will appear at Newton Aycliffe Magistrates' Court on Thursday.

John Littlewood
Family Handout

Climate change protest: Newcastle students to stage 'die-ins'

BBC Look North

North East and Cumbria

Climate change protesters will stage "die-ins" at Newcastle's student campuses today.

Extinction Rebellion is holding events similar to this seen here at Grey's Monument earlier this year across Newcastle and Northumbria universities to alert students and staff to the climate crisis.

The movement is calling on the universities to take a lead on communicating the emergency and to take action.

Newcastle Hard Rock Cafe licence approved

Daniel Holland

Local Democracy Reporter

A Hard Rock Cafe could be opening in Newcastle.

Council bosses have agreed to approve the alcohol licence for the restaurant to move into one of the city’s most historic buildings.

It is said that the restaurant will move into the Grade I listed Guildhall on the Quayside, with a £2.5m transformation of the run-down building in the works.

David and Penny Tilly, the couple behind the plans, said that the venue will pay homage to local music legends such as Sting, Brian Johnson, and Mark Knopfler.

After seeing the licence granted by Newcastle City Council, Mr Tilly said that the Guildhall will be the “perfect building and the perfect location” for the North East’s first Hard Rock Cafe if they can secure the final permissions needed.

The Guildhall building on the Newcastle Quayside.
NCJ Media

Northumbria Police operation: Sixteen arrested

BBC Look North

North East and Cumbria

More than 300 weapons have been handed into Northumbria Police during a week-long operation.

The knife surrender, known as Operation Sceptre, saw six red bins placed in police stations across the force area and came to an end on Sunday.

Sixteen people were also arrested during the week of action.