- Rule of One introduced.
- General ban on meeting others at any indoor location.
- New laws in effect from 30 September.
New laws came into effect across the North East on 30 September, making it illegal to meet anyone you don’t live with (or who you are not in a support bubble or linked household with) at any inside location.
Instead of the ‘Rule of Six’, introduced by the Government a fortnight ago, it is now the ‘Rule Of One’ for socialising indoors.
There is a long list of exceptions, but the general rule is you cannot mix indoors with people you don’t live with, unless it’s at a school or your workplace.
The new law applies to everyone, including children, and (unless exceptions apply) forbids North East residents from meeting up indoors with anyone else, anywhere, even abroad. Those visiting our region will also be banned from meeting people outside their own household or support bubble at indoor venues.
Before these changes, it had been possible to meet up to five others indoors at pubs, hotels, restaurants, bars, dessert diners, cafes, gaming zones, casinos, hostels, gyms, health centres, campsites or any other enclosed or ‘substantially enclosed’ location (apart from nightclubs and ‘sexual entertainment venues’, which remain shut). Now, those 18 or over who attend these places and meet with others can be forcibly dispersed and fined £200 for a first offence (reduced to £100 if paid in 14 days). Fines double for any subsequent offences.
These venues can remain open to the public, but unless it is an allowed exception, the rule of one must be observed, with heavy fines for business owners who allow customers to breach the rules. Customers must attend on their own and stay on their own. They must not be ‘in the same place’ as anyone else to socialise or ‘undertake any other activity with each other’.
There are a large number of exceptions to the rules.
Those normally involved in providing ‘necessary’ care for children under 14 or for vulnerable adults were allowed to do so again from last week. This might be childcare provided to allow a parent to go to work or to allow them to attend to other responsibilities.
Caring arrangements must have already been established before 21 September to qualify for this exemption. The rules do not allow for people to have children staying with others, for parties or ‘play dates’. People are allowed to care for children or vulnerable adults from one household only. Relatives and friends you don’t normally live with, who are not part of usual caring arrangements will not be allowed to meet to see the children. There is special provision to allow existing parent/child access arrangements.
Those in support bubbles or ‘linked households’ (where a single adult household ‘links’ with one other household and effectively forms an extended family) can continue to meet each other freely.
Meetings for work purposes or to provide volunteer or charitable services will be allowed where it is ‘necessary’, as will meeting up for training or education purposes. Meetings must take place in Covid-secure environments and follow social-distancing guidelines. Registered tradespeople will be allowed to work inside homes and other premises, provided they follow Covid guidance on working safely.
It will be possible to meet indoors for a range of emergency situations, for some support groups and ‘to facilitate’ a house move (including moving to university). It will also be possible for close relatives, friends, or members of the same household to visit people in hospitals, hospices and care homes.
Permitted gatherings will be allowed. These include for births, marriage and deaths, which are subject to strict limits on how many can attend, social distancing measures and Covid safety measures. Gatherings at premises (apart from private homes) operated by businesses, charities and public bodies will also be permitted, but must follow strict rules about how they are organised. Gyms and fitness studios can continue to operate but group activity must be limited to six people and in a Covid-secure setting. Public protest gatherings are allowed, subject to precautions being taken.
Outdoor areas at pubs, restaurants, cafes etc are exempt from the new rules and people will be allowed to meet in a socially distanced way, in groups of no more than six.
Despite there being no law changes which prevent people from meeting each other in outdoor settings (in groups of no more than six), official advice is not to. Government Health Secretary Matt Hancock told Parliament last week that “people should not socialise outside their household … that is the approach that people should take.”
GH 30 September 2020
As Covid-19 infection across the region spiked in the last week, so too did the number of new restrictions on how we can socialise.
Here is our guide to some of the new rules that have been recently introduced in our area, with more yet to come.
Meeting in houses you don’t normally live in
No more popping round to a neighbours’ house for a cup of tea. Whilst there are a number of exceptions, the general rule is you can’t meet others at anyone else’s house. This includes yards, gardens and doorsteps. You can make deliveries, but you mustn’t linger.
Meeting outside the home and the rule of six
You can meet with up to five other people, in a ‘socially distanced’ way at locations outside someone’s home, such as parks, play areas, back lanes, streets, car parks, pubs, restaurants or dessert diners. First-time penalties for breaching the ‘rule of six’ were doubled last week to £200. Organised indoor sporting, activity or exercise must be done in groups of no more than six.
Further restrictions are expected to come into force on 30 September, barring people not in the same household or support bubble from meeting at indoor locations such as cafes, bars, restaurants and pubs.
Relaxation of rules for childcare and vulnerable adults
Those normally involved in providing ‘necessary’ care for children under 14 or for vulnerable adults were allowed to do so again from last week. This might be childcare provided to allow a parent to go to work or to allow them to attend to other responsibilities.
Caring arrangements must have already been established before 21 September to qualify for this exemption. The rules do not allow for people to have children staying with others, for parties or ‘play dates’. People are able to care for children or vulnerable adults from one household only.
Those who don’t self-isolate when either a) they have had a Covid-19 test that shows positive or b) when they have been ordered to by NHS Test and Trace, now face a minimum £1,000 fine for a first offence.
If someone receives a positive test result, they are now required by law to self-isolate for “the period ending 10 days after displaying symptoms or after the date of the test if they did not have symptoms.”
Other members of their household must self-isolate “for the period ending 14 days after symptom onset”, or after the date of the initial person’s positive test, says Government guidance.
If someone is instructed to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace, because they have had close contact with someone outside their household who has tested positive, they are legally required to self-isolate for the period notified by NHS Test and Trace.
Both household and non-household contacts must self-isolate for the full period, regardless of whether they have symptoms and, if they develop symptoms and take a test, regardless of whether any test taken gives a negative result.
Get latest Government guidance on how the Test and Trace system works. See latest Government advice for households with possible or confirmed Covid-19 infection. The Government has also published specific advice for households with grandparents, parents and children living together where someone is at increased risk or has possible or confirmed Covid-19 infection.
Employers who force or allow staff to come to work when they should be self-isolating will be liable for fines of up to £10,000.
Test and trace self isolation payments
A taxable £500 Test and Trace self isolation payment will be available to some workers on low incomes who suffer financial loss because they are unable to work at home and who have been ordered to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace. Claimants will need to be receiving one of the following benefits to be eligible – Universal Credit, Working Tax Credit, income-based Employment and Support Allowance, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Housing Benefit and/or Pension Credit.
It will be paid on top of any statutory sick pay entitlement. The payment is expected to be available from 12 October and awards will backdated to 28 September where people are eligible. The scheme will be run by Newcastle City Council and is set to end 31 January next year.
With some exceptions on health and age grounds, face coverings must now be worn by all passengers in taxis and private hire vehicles (in line with rules for all other public transport). They must be worn by staff and customers in hospitality venues including restaurants, cafes and pubs. They can be taken off to eat and drink while seated at a table, but must be put back on when finished or if walking round the venue. Staff must also wear them in shops, post offices, banks, public areas of hotels or hostels and other indoor areas. From 28 September, at any premises where masks are required to be worn, a sign must be displayed saying so.
A £200 minimum instant fine can be imposed for breaching the new face mask laws.
Fines of up to £10,000 and shutdown of premises can now be imposed on businesses failing to maintain Covid-secure conditions.
Venues in hospitality, the tourism and leisure industry, close contact services (beauticians, hairdressers, tattooists, nail care, massage etc) and local authority facilities must also have systems in place to record who is entering their premises and must by law display an official NHS QR code so visitors can log their attendance that way instead. Hospitality venues must refuse entry to unregistered people.
£1,000 instant fines can be imposed on the person with overall responsibility for the business for failing to comply with these data collection requirements.
Hospitality venues like bars and restaurants must serve food and drink at tables, of no more than six people. They must not allow consumption of food and drink on the premises after 10pm. They will be allowed to deliver food and drink off premises after that time. Customers must not ‘mingle’ with people outside their own household or group they are part of. Staff must wear face coverings.
Hospitality venues must refuse entry to people who are not recorded entering their premises, either through the venue’s own recording system or through the NHS QR code mobile check-in system. All hospitality venues must display their premises’ NHS QR code in a prominent location.
In a set of measures introduced on 28 September, probably aimed at karaoke sessions, hospitality businesses must also take ‘reasonable measures’ to prevent people singing in groups of more than six. They must take reasonable measures to stop dancing (unless there is an exception, such as the first dance at a wedding reception) and (unless it is a live performance) must limit music sound levels to a Government-set maximum.
Takeaways can operate almost as usual, with the exception that they cannot allow orders to be made or collected in person after 10pm. Off licences are also allowed to continue operating after 10pm.
Weddings and civil partnerships
A bride and groom can have no more than 13 ‘socially distanced’ guests (including witnesses) at their wedding from 28 September. The previous limit was 28. Anyone working is not included in the guest limit. Performers can sing and play music, but guests cannot. Weddings are banned at people’s homes and gardens. Venues must be ‘Covid-secure’. If the wedding is held in a place of worship, face masks must be worn and police have powers to impose £200 instant fines for breaches. The couple getting married or joined together and those officiating do not have to wear face masks.
Receptions must be held at a Covid-secure venue, and there are big penalties for venue hosts who breach rules. Receptions cannot be at somebody’s home or garden. The total number attending can be no more than 15, plus anyone working. Celebrations must be finished by 10pm and participants must abide by social distancing rules. Indoor children’s play areas should be closed. Apart from a traditional newly-joined couple’s ‘first dance’, no other dancing is allowed. No hanging around at a bar counter. Meals and drinks must be sit-down. Police have powers to break up illegal gatherings and to issue instant fines.
Christenings and baptisms
Apart from baby, just five others are allowed at a christening or baptism, plus officiants and others working at the ceremony. Arrangements for the ceremony can be made at parents’ homes providing social distancing is observed. Face masks must be worn by parents and guests. Came into force 28 September.
It is still permissible to car share, but Government advice is to “try not to share a vehicle with those outside your household or support bubble”. Where it is necessary to share, the guidance is for all to wear face masks, share the transport with the same people each time, face away from each other, open windows for ventilation and to clean vehicle between journeys.
Covid-19 in Newcastle
Figures released by Newcastle City Council show infection rates in the city have soared over the past week, with a current rate of 235 cases per 100,000 population. This compares with 131 in the wider North East and an average of 52 across England.
Wingrove councillor and City Council Cabinet member for Public Health and Neighbourhoods Irim Ali said “It is vital now that everyone follows the guidance and especially the local restrictions that have been in place for a week now. I know this is difficult, and many of our communities have already sacrificed so much, but if we do not unify as one city we face the very real risk of the virus taking over.”
Government Health Secretary Matt Hancock told Parliament last week that “people should not socialise outside their household … that is the approach that people should take.”
New restrictions coming
Further new law is expected to be in force in our area by Wednesday 30 September, placing additional restrictions on meeting indoors.
Although not yet published, restrictions are expected to include a ban on meeting people outside of your household or support bubble, in indoor settings such as hospitality venues like pubs, restaurants, cafes and bars.
The proposed North East clampdown, being brought in “at the request of local councils” will introduce “legal restrictions on indoor mixing between households in any setting”, said Matt Hancock, in an announcement to Parliament. The provisions, he said, will be a response to high and rising levels of infection in the region, with six of seven North East council areas having infection rates of more than 100 of 100,000 people.
Newcastle City Council leader Nick Forbes confirmed there had been discussion with Government on further restrictions, but said he had no advance notice of this week’s announcement, which he criticised for “being communicated in headlines and without detail”.
We try to ensure information on these pages is 100% accurate. Please let us know if you think any of our information is not quite right.
GH 29 September 2020
Have you seen our latest newsletter?
In case you’ve not received your copy through the door yet, you can read your local ‘Greening Wingrove & Arthur’s Hill News’ here.
Contains latest news about our free bike health check sessions, free wildflower seed giveaway, plans for the future of the Bike Garden at Nuns Moor Park, reclaiming our back lanes, Vertical Veg, Wild West End, Covid-19 Mutual Aid, flytipping and litter and our opposition to plans for a Burger King at the former police station site on Westgate Road. It also has details on how you can contact us and how you can support our work.
Plans to build a drive-through burger outlet on the former Westgate Road police station site have been unanimously rejected by city councillors.
The plans would have seen a Burger King outlet with sit-down restaurant and drive-through established, along with single person flats, retail and service units and car parking.
The proposals were opposed by nearby local residents who argued that the development would have a negative impact on those living in neighbouring properties. 137 objections and 45 letters of support were received by the Council in relation to the burger drive-through alone.
City planners recommended to the Council’s planning committee that the proposals be rejected.
The development would have “an unacceptable adverse impact on neighbouring residential amenity from noise and disturbance from the premises both in its operation but also with the movement of vehicle and people to and from the premises,” said city planner Stephen Edwards in a report to the committee.
He advised that “the operations of the facilities from 7am to 10pm would cause increased customer numbers into what is essentially a residential area, causing noise and intolerable level of disturbance.”
There were also “major” highway safety concerns around access, increased traffic, limited car parking and vehicle queuing.
Additionally, the design of the burger bar was out of character with the local area and an example of poor, bland, unimaginative, “context-less” design which could only result in an “anywhere-place”.
It ‘failed entirely’ to represent high quality design, as required by the Government’s National Planning Policy Framework. It did not ‘add to the overall quality of the area’, ‘respond to local character and history’ or demonstrate ‘outstanding or innovative design’.
It was noted that a drive-through burger bar would also lead to increased access by local school children to unhealthy food and have a negative impact on health and wellbeing.
A submission from Northumbria Police expressed concern that the proposals for single person flats would “limit the potential for developing long term residency, encourage a higher than normal level of transience and undermine the opportunities for developing a proper sense of community.”
Despite agents for the applicants, Hadrian Investments Ltd, submitting new plans last week to take account of traffic issue concerns, together with changed proposals for a reduced number of flats and the inclusion of three two-bedroomed ones, councillors voted to deny planning permission for the drive-through and accompanying flats and retail/service units.
Cllr Paula Holland said the local community deserved “much better facilities than something like this.”
GH 18 September 2020
New North East Covid-19 restrictions have come into force, as part of an effort to curb a recent rapid rise in local coronavirus infection and avoid another business lockdown.
From today, people across the North East (Newcastle, Northumberland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Gateshead, County Durham and Sunderland) are prohibited by law from meeting with anyone from another household at ‘private dwellings’ (i.e houses, flats and rooms, including gardens, yards, passageways and stairs).
In short, you can’t have any visitors at your private residence and you can’t meet others at anyone else’s residence. However, people will be free to meet with up to five others in a socially-distanced group at hotels, hostels, campsites, caravan parks, members clubs, boarding houses or bed and breakfast accommodation, but probably not at Airbnb-style accommodation or unregistered private lets. Restaurant and bar service must be at tables only.
There are a number of humanitarian exceptions to the general no-meeting-at-others’-homes rule, including provision of care and assistance to a vulnerable or dying person, home births, emergency assistance and to continue existing arrangements for access to, and contact between, parents and children.
There are also limited circumstances where it will be permissible for people to meet in other’s homes for work, charity, voluntary, education or training purposes, provided it is ‘reasonably necessary’.
People can still come inside your home or garden ‘to facilitate a house move’. The wording on this appears to have been left deliberately vague and seems to leave the door open for any visits to people’s homes connected with selling or buying a home, as long as the number of people at the property at any one time does not exceed six.
Those who are in ‘linked households’ (one solo adult household with or without children plus one other household of any description) will be able to meet at each other homes regardless of how many people are involved. Once two households have linked, neither can link with any other household.
The region’s night-time hospitality and entertainment industry is also affected.
Restaurants, cafes, pubs, bars (including bars in hotels or members’ clubs), social clubs, casinos, bowling alleys, cinemas, theatres, amusement arcades, leisure facilities, funfairs, theme parks, bingo halls, concert halls and even some workplace canteens will be required to cease all business by 10pm and not open before 5am, except for supply of food and drink off the premises.
Takeaways and other outlets supplying food or drink for consumption off premises will be allowed to deliver during these times, but orders cannot be taken in person at the premises.
Unless they can be put to other uses, nightclubs, music and dance venues will stay closed at all times, as will ‘sexual entertainment venues’ and ‘hostess bars’.
Here in the North East, the new legislation effectively replaces parts of the ‘Rule of Six’ law, brought in by the Government this week, relating to meetings at people’s homes. People will continue to be able to meet up to five others from different households in an outdoor setting like a park, cafes, restaurants or bars.
Fines for breaching the new rules range from £50 all the way up to £3,200 for repeat offenders. The rules can remain in force until 19 March 2021, but must be reviewed every fortnight to determine if all measures are still necessary. They must next be reviewed by 2 October.
The additional restrictions were announced on Thursday by Government Health Secretary Matt Hancock and follow lobbying by local councils in response to a spike in coronavirus incidence across the region.
A week ago the Newcastle infection rate per 100,000 people was 48. Two days ago that figure had risen to 64. Yesterday, according to Matt Hancock, that figure was above 70. “The data says we must act now,” he said.
City Council leader Nick Forbes said “We are seeing the rates of infection rising at an alarming rate. The evidence we’ve found from local testing is that it’s spreading in three main areas: in pubs, in people’s homes and in grassroots sports.
“This is not the time for inaction. If we are to protect those most susceptible to the virus, we need to be able to act now and that is exactly what we are collectively trying to achieve. We cannot allow it to get out of control. Please work with us and do your bit to keep our great region safe.”
CITY COUNCIL ADVICE
Advice from the Council is to “Follow the guidelines, keep up good hygiene, follow social distancing measures and wear a face covering when appropriate.”
Cllr Forbes also urged those with Covid-19 symptoms or those contacted by health protection teams to “book a test and self-isolate” until they get their results.
Additional guidance “to further reduce rates of infection” was issued yesterday.
- Do not socialise with other people outside of your own households in all public venues
- Only use public transport for essential purposes, such as travelling to school or work
- Holidays should be taken within your own household or support bubble
- Avoid attending amateur and semi-professional sporting events as spectators
Care homes across the city have been advised to close to non-essential visits, with the exception of residents receiving end-of life care.
FIND OUT MORE
It’s not an easy read, but if you want to know first-hand what the new law is, just follow the link Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (North East of England) Regulations 2020.
Changes to advice about when someone should get tested change frequently. This link has the latest Government advice.
GH 18 September 2020. Amended 19 September to include extra detail about provision for ‘facilitation’ of house moves and addition of links to new Government guidance about North East law and Covid-19 testing
- Residents set for victory in fight against burger drive-through plans.
- Serious safety concerns.
- Design ‘poor’ ‘bland’ ‘unimaginative’ and ‘particularly underwhelming’.
Plans to build a drive-through burger bar on the former Westgate Road police station site look set to be rejected by councillors when they meet this week to discuss the proposal.
City Council planning staff have recommended that both the drive-through and an accompanying application to build single person flats, retail/service units and a dental surgery be turned down, as they don’t satisfy planning standards on a number of grounds.
City planner Stephen Edwards said the applicant, Hadrian Investments Ltd, had provided insufficient information about key elements of the plans and had “failed to demonstrate that the development could operate without causing noise and disturbance to neighbouring residential properties.” There were also ‘serious safety concerns’.
The design of the restaurant and drive-through itself also drew attention, being described as ‘bland and unimaginative’, ‘particularly underwhelming’, ‘low standard’ and ‘poor’. It was ‘context-less’, out of keeping with its surroundings and inappropriate for the prominent Westgate Road location.
The proposals, which were first floated last year, have attracted strong local opposition. Some 50 nearby residents highlighted issues including potential noise, increased rat-run traffic, road safety, litter and pollution, parking problems and a generally negative impact on a residential area. (Pictured Lynnwood Avenue, which backs onto the proposed development site.)
A petition against the plans has attracted some 450 signatures. 137 letters of objection and 45 submissions in support of the application were received by the Council.
Along with Newcastle Central MP Chi Onwurah, Wingrove councillors Joyce McCarty, Irim Ali and Rebecca Shatwell; Arthur’s Hill councillor Nigel Todd; Elswick councillors Habib Rahman and Ann Schofield all opposed the plans, citing detrimental impacts on health, young people and local residents. Greening Wingrove & Arthur’s Hill also wrote to the Council opposing the proposed development.
Cllrs Rahman, Schofield and Todd have called for a ‘public hearing’ and say local residents were given misleading, incomplete and difficult-to-discover information.
“The notice (of the plans) was attached to a bus stop outside the site where those isolating (because of Covid-19) would not see it and so they were denied access to the critical information on objections”, said Cllr Todd.
Northumbria Police have objected, citing crime and anti-social behaviour implications. They were also concerned that the building of one bedroom flats would “limit the potential for developing long term residency, encourage a higher than normal level of transience and undermine the opportunities for developing a proper sense of community.”
The decision on whether the plans get the go-ahead rests with the 14 strong planning committee made up of Newcastle councillors. Normally, such decisions would be made by Council planning staff, but the matter was referred to the committee “due to the number, strength and issues raised in public representations.”
The planning committee meeting takes place 9.30am Friday 18 September and will be livestreamed on YouTube.
Public Health England data submitted to the Council shows Newcastle already has 50% more fast food outlets than the national average.
GH 17 September 2020. Text amended 18 September to reflect new evidence submitted to planning committee, changing number of objections and letters of support first reported.
UPDATE – Information in this article relating to meeting people indoors is now out of date. Please read our latest stories for latest information,
New emergency law came into force in England on 14 September, generally prohibiting people (including children and babies) who don’t normally live with each other from meeting in groups of more than six, indoors or outdoors.
Adults and children usually living in the same household and those in ‘linked households’ (those in ‘support bubbles’ for instance) can form a bigger group providing they are the only ones together in their group.
Provision is also made to allow people’s carers or a childminder, or those involved in parent/child contact or access arrangements, to be part of a bigger group.
The regulations, published online less than 25 minutes before they were due to come into effect, contain a long list of exceptions to what the Prime Minister has dubbed the ‘Rule of Six’.
Exemptions include workplaces, charity and volunteer provision, education and training, outdoor and indoor sport activity, accident or illness emergency situations, legally organised protests, places of worship, leisure centres, bars, restaurants and hospitality settings.
Weddings, funerals and team sports will be allowed attendances of up to 30.
People at permitted larger gatherings must attend in groups of no more than six and must not ‘mingle’ with those from other groups.
Government guidance on the new rules is available here.
The guidance is also available in different languages.
Those found in breach or facilitating a breach of the new measures face £100 fines for a first offence, doubling for subsequent offences, up to £3,200 (six offences). Police will also have powers to break up gatherings.
Policing Minister Kit Malthouse told Radio 4’s Today programme that those concerned about neighbours breaching the ‘rule of six’ should ring the non-emergency police phone number (101) to report violations.
Northumbria Police Chief Constable Winton Keenan said local police would be doing all they can to “to ensure those who put others at risk by refusing to comply with the regulations are subject to appropriately robust enforcement action.”
“We have no desire to use the formal powers now made available to policing but it’s right that we’re able to enforce against those who disregard these measures and put people at risk,” says a statement on the Northumbria Police website.
Since pubs re-opened, Newcastle City Council has been working with police to “act against any licensed premises that is not sticking to social distancing guidelines”. 24 premises have been issued with prohibition notices and the Council’s licensing staff have visited 105 premises in the city to support ‘good compliance’.
The latest emergency regulations were issued by the Home Secretary “in response to the serious and imminent threat to public health” posed by “the incidence and spread” of coronavirus in England.
Powers available under the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984 allow Secretaries of State to make law without consulting MPs or members of the House of Lords, if they are of the opinion it is necessary ‘by reason of urgency’.
The regulations make clear that no assessment has been made of the impact the new rules will have.
Some critics of the new powers point out that they only allow parents to link with one of their children’s households and that limiting numbers to groups of six can mean all members of extended families being unable to meet at the same time. People have also commented on how it may adversely affect their ability to pursue new personal relationships.
Although many commentators have viewed the new powers as being more restrictive and reducing people’s exposure to coronavirus, the reality is that instead of just two households being able to meet indoors last month, those from six different households can now do so. Also, an adult living on their own can now link with any other household regardless of how many people live there.
Social distancing guidance still applies to all meeting in groups not in the same or linked households.
“To reduce the risk of catching or spreading coronavirus, try to keep at least 2 metres away from people you do not live with. Social distancing is essential to stop the spread of the virus, as it is more likely to spread when people are close together. An infected person can pass on the virus even if they do not have any symptoms, through talking, breathing, coughing or sneezing,” says the Government website.
“When with people you do not live with, you should also avoid: physical contact; being close and face-to-face; and shouting or singing close to them. You should also avoid crowded areas with lots of people; and touching things that other people have touched.
Where you cannot stay 2 metres apart you should stay more than 1 metre apart, as well as taking extra steps to stay safe. For example:
- wear a face covering: on public transport and in many indoor spaces, you must wear a face covering by law, unless you are exempt
- move outdoors, where it is safer and there is more space
- if indoors, make sure rooms are well ventilated by keeping windows and doors open”
GH 15 September 2020, updated 17 September to include Council enforcement action, updated 18 September to reflect new North East regulations. Updated 30 September to reflect changed law relating to meeting at indoor venues.
Two local employers are looking for staff to work in the West End.
The Nunsmoor Centre is looking for a 10hrs per week “committed, self-motivated, enthusiastic and experienced” community development worker to deliver a programme of activities and develop funding opportunities.
The closing date for applications is noon Friday 25 September. More details about the job can be found here.
Healthworks is looking for six staff – two health promotion practitioners and four health improvement practitioners, to work from its bases in Lemington and Benwell. The closing date for applications is noon Monday 21 September.
The health promotion staff (one 37hrs and one 30hrs) will work in the Health Promotion Team “to promote the wellbeing of the community and encourage healthy lifestyles as well as raising cancer awareness and promoting Cancer Champions.” More information here.
The four 37hr health improvement staff will provide face to face advice and “set up schemes to support a healthy lifestyle, run awareness raising campaigns and implement government initiatives relating to public health, including delivering NHS Health Checks.” More information here.
- Litter problems reflect poorly on the West End
- Inadequate action from Council
- The West End deserves better
A petition has been launched calling on the City Council to do more to tackle problem litter and waste in the West End.
“For years, we’ve had a major problem with litter and fly-tipping … There has been inadequate action,” says the petition “… the West End deserves better.”
“Children have to walk though rubbish on their way to school and when playing out. Local businesses are affected as the litter problems reflect poorly on the West End. Local residents are fed up with so much rubbish in their gardens, streets and parks.”
It calls for “meaningful action” from the Council to tackle fly tipping; “adequate” household waste and recycling provision; a stop to bin raiding, and “sufficient” street bins in strategic locations to minimise littering.
It notes “the back lanes in the terraces of Arthur’s Hill, Benwell, Elswick and Wingrove are particularly badly affected.”
The ‘Clean Up Newcastle’s West End’ petition was set up by Elswick resident Taymar Pitman – a longstanding critic of Council policy on the environment and a Green Party campaigner.
“A petition is a quick and easy way to bring issues to the attention of our councillors and officers and help influence local decision making,” says the Council website.
“Petitions have been an important part of our democratic process for centuries,” say Petition Scheme Rules. “They go hand-in-hand with our rights to freedom of speech and peaceful, legal protest and they often highlight the strength of feeling for or against an important issue.”
If a petition gets 2,500 supporters, it will be considered for debate by a full meeting of the city’s 78 councillors.
GH 3 September 2020
- Academics call for fast food drive through plan to be scrapped.
- Burger drive through would ‘undoubtedly’ increase local obesity.
- Location will encourage West End young people to consume ‘nutritionally poor’ food.
- Additional impact on those living in residential area nearby.
Two UK experts on the impact of hot food takeaways have called on the City Council to refuse permission for a proposed Burger King outlet on the former police station site on Westgate Road.
In an eight page submission to the City Council’s planning committee, the Newcastle University academics draw attention to the potential impact such a development could have on local obesity rates, air pollution, young people’s health and noise levels.
Impact On Nearby Residents
They are critical of the location for the proposed development next to residential properties, saying that nearby residents should be able to expect ‘some level of amenity’ due to “living outside of the designated District and Local shopping centres and being set back from the busy street frontage.”
Fumes and extraction equipment would have a particular impact on those living close to the site during the late evening and early morning, “greeting local residents as they awake with smells of cooking burgers”.
“The takeaway/drive through element of the proposal would generate a new, close-up, level of noise associated with deliveries and waste removal, (probably taking place outside of the given opening hours), parking, queuing cars and general manoeuvring into, out of and around the site.”
The site would also generate litter and “the drive through facility would generate car exhaust fumes, compounding the level of air quality in the nearby residential area.”
West End Health
The academics, Tim Townshend, Professor of Urban Design for Health, and Teresa Strachan, Senior Lecturer in Town Planning, are recognised UK specialists on the impact of hot food takeaways and ‘obsogenic environments’ which encourage people to become overweight.
They say a fast food outlet on the site would have wider negative impacts on West End health and “undoubtedly exacerbate the obesity problem in this area.”
“Food served within fast food burger outlets tends to be nutritionally poor and energy dense – high in fat, sugar and salt content.”
There is a particular risk for young people in the area, they say, and it is ‘significant’ that “the position of the proposed drive through is in easy reach of four schools and bus stops used by children for schools further away, in an area with the highest obesity levels both in the City and in the North East.”
“Access and availability are key factors associated with fast food consumption and this has been shown to be particularly so for older children.”
A further health impact arises from the location of the site in a deprived area. They point out that Elswick is the third most deprived of the city’s 26 wards, with the highest number of deaths from circulatory disease in under-75s.
Research has also shown that takeaway outlets cluster in areas of social deprivation, adding to health inequalities.
This is so on the West Road, which has been labelled a ‘toxic high street’ by the country’s Chief Medical Officer – a deprived area where clusters of unhealthy uses (such as fast food, betting shops, ‘pay-day’ lenders) have been allowed to become established, with a considerable impact on local health.
The applicant has failed to address these issues, they argue. “There is an absence of any evidence in the application that addresses the likely impact of the proposed restaurant/ takeaway and drive through on the health of the local community.”
“The proposal does not contribute to a healthy living environment, nor does it involve the control of unhealthy eating outlets, nor reduce the impact of climate change and for these reasons the application should be considered to be unacceptable.”
“The City Council must take a stance on reducing childhood obesity and more broadly reducing health inequalities across the City and refuse this application”
Find Out More
You can find out more about the planning application and read what local people are saying about it on the Council website.
A final decision on the application is expected no later than 5 October and could be considered at the next scheduled planning committee meeting on Friday 18 September.
GH 28 August 2020