Cycling campaigners have hit out at council bosses who have shelved plans to create a cycle lane on one of Newcastle's highest polluting streets.
In 2015 a major transformation of Percy Street was unveiled as part of a £10m shake up of the city centre's roads.
Four years on and Newcastle City Council has confirmed that it has no intentions of pursuing any Percy Street improvements until it has finalised its plans to pedestrianise Blackett Street.
Newcastle Cycling Campaign says that giving it the long-awaited cycle lane is key to cleaning up the air and creating a joined-up cycle route connecting the whole city centre.
KFC attacks council ban on takeaways near Newcastle schools
Local Democracy Reporter
The fast food chain KFC has attacked a council policy which will stop them opening near Newcastle schools.
It comes as the city council reveals its Development and Allocations Plan which sets out how the area will develop over the next 15 years.
The company, which was refused a restaurant near a North Shields school last year, says there is only “weak and contradictory” evidence that having takeaways next to schools increases childhood obesity.
Steve Simms, of KFC representatives SSA Planning, told a hearing at Newcastle University that similar bans elsewhere in the country had been deemed “unsound”.
Adding that there are “other ways of dealing with some of the problems identified around healthy eating”.
However, council bosses say they make “no apologies” for their approach to cutting the obesity epidemic.
Veronica Dunn, the council’s cabinet member for education, said: “As a council we are proud of all the things we are doing to encourage people to be healthy, from encouraging them to walk more, eat more fruit and veg, drink less alcohol and give up smoking.
“We all have a role in tackling obesity including the big fast food multi-nationals which for far too long have profited from the oversupply of salt and sugar.”
Thousands of schoolchildren from some of the poorest homes in Newcastle are being given free meals and activities during the summer holidays.
The Best Summer Ever programme is being funded by Newcastle City Council to the tune of £1.1m.
About 70 different projects across Newcastle are taking part, offering a variety of activities, sporting events, arts and crafts, dance, performance and healthy eating.
It is estimated that across Newcastle 26,723 young people live in poverty, with 10,344 accessing free school meals.
Councillor Clare Penny-Evans, the council’s cabinet member for communities, said: “I hope everyone, from all communities and backgrounds, will really get on board and be a part of Newcastle’s Best Summer Ever and enjoy this fantastic opportunity.”
The former home of Newcastle United co-owner Freddy Shepherd will be turned into a children's care facility despite neighbours' fears over anti-social behaviour.
The Action for Children charity has been given permission by Newcastle City Council to transform the building in Westacre Gardens, Fenham, where Mr Shepherd lived before taking over the club.
The council's planning committee agreed unanimously saying it will help to keep children close to their friends and family rather than being forced out of the area.
Objections to the plan included that it would have a “hugely negative impact” on neighbours’ privacy, as well as causing parking problems in the street and concerns about anti-social behaviour.
Kath Lawless, the council's assistant director of planning, said Northumbria Police had raised no objection to the plans and that the risk of anti-social behaviour would effectively be the same as any normal family home where there might be “unruly children”.
The home will be used to provide long-term care placements for up to four children aged between 12 and 18, rather than emergency care, and would also house a maximum of three staff.
Business leaders push back on 'catastrophic' clean air plans
Local Democracy Reporter
It's been claimed plans to impose a toll on motorists in Newcastle City Centre would be "catastrophic" for the local economy.
The business improvement company, NE1, says a new clean air charge proposed for some Tyneside roads risks “major and long-lasting economic damage”.
Newcastle, Gateshead and North Tyneside have been consulting on imposing either a Clean Air Zone in which the highest-polluting vehicles would be charged a daily fee of £12.50 or a £1.70 toll on the three central bridges across the Tyne.
Businesses welcome the environmental benefits but say the council needs time to make improvements to public transport before a toll on cars is imposed.
A spokesperson for the three councils said the proposals were "aimed at making our area cleaner, healthier and a more attractive place to live, work, visit and do business".