Fighting for a Green future in Gateshead

Gateshead Green Party

Local Elections 2014 0

Posted on May 04, 2014 by GatesheadGreens

Three reasons to vote Green

  • Only the Green Party will fight austerity and welfare cuts at home and in Europe.
  • Only the Green Party will oppose privatisation and fight for public services to be in public hands.
  • Only the Green Party will drive the transition from fossil fuels to a sustainable world we can pass on to our children.

On 22nd May 2014, you’ll be able to vote for someone to represent you on the local Gateshead Council. The Green Party is fielding its biggest field ever in Gateshead with 8 candidates standing across the borough. There is a full list of the candidates below.

We believe that voting for the Green Party will provide a fresh start for Gateshead. Gateshead Council plans to rail road local opponents to its Green Belt land grab. A vote for the Greens is a vote against those in power who are happy to see hundreds of house built on the green belt while leaving hundreds of acres of “brown field” sites as derelict wasteland.

We stood candidates in 2010, 2011 and 2012 with 40% increase across the two years. A Green vote is far from wasted. A Green vote keeps green issues centre stage and will help call the current leadership to account.

Ward Candidate
Crawcrook and Greenside Ralf RUSSOW
Deckham Gary Rutherford BROOKS
Dunston and Teams Andy BLANCHFLOWER
Dunston Hill and Whickham East Mary BLANCHFLOWER
Lobley Hill and Bensham Andy REDFERN
Ryton, Crookhill and Stella Sarah MCKEOWN
Wardley and Leam Lane Stephen WATSON
Winlaton and High Spen Paul MCNALLY

Gateshead Green Party delivers planning petition to local planners 0

Posted on April 24, 2012 by GatesheadGreens

Gateshead – April 24th – Today Stephen Watson, Green Party candidate for the Wardley and Leam Lane council seat, delivered a petition with more than 300 signatures from concerned local residents to the Gateshead Council Planning Department. The petition opposes the development of greenbelt land in the Leam Lane area for housing. Stephen Watson commented “Local people have had little chance to feedback on the Council’s plans. By taking it to peoples’ doorsteps we have allowed residents to see the extent of the clearly unwanted plans. ”

The Gateshead Green Party believes that the Council under the guidance of its Labour leadership has avoided getting feedback from local residents because it fears a backlash against its “strategic” plans. Stephen Watson commented “I am amazed at what Labour has NOT done in Gateshead. In Newcastle 115,000 homes were contacted directly about the planned changes to which areas of the city were being proposed as available for new homes – Gateshead council handed out a few leaflets in the Metrocentre and the town centre. No wonder they only received seven complaints. We have taken the information of which bits of greenbelt are being torn up on to the doorsteps of those directly affected and have received more 300 complaints – each of which will now need to be dealt with by the planning department”.

The lack of transparency on the issue has been stark. The local Labour party has continued to say that the permission is for outline approval only with little likelihood of any building work taking place. Yet this contradicts the consultation documentation which states “Leam Lane has an estimated capacity of 1201 new dwellings.” and “The phasing of this site is set to begin at the earliest possible time, (around 2014/15), because there are no significant constraints to development.” Stephen Watson said “Diggers will be ploughing up the green fields of Leam Lane with two years despite these hollow reassurances. These changes are turning our local fields into a goldmine for developers and it is local people who are set to lose out”.

For more information about the Green Party’s region wide campaign to prevent green belt land being turned into a goldmine for local developers please contact David Byrne (0191 442 1542), Green Party co-ordinator in Gateshead or Nic Best (0787 889 6292 ), press officer for the Green Party in the North East of England.

Gateshead Green Party website
NE Regional Green party website

Promoted by David Byrne on behalf of the Green Party, both of 18 Coleridge Avenue, Gateshead NE9 6EL.

Gateshead Greens announce lineup and policies for 2012 Local Elections 0

Posted on April 08, 2012 by GatesheadGreens

Gateshead Green Party today announced it is fielding three candidates in the local elections in Gateshead on 3rd May. The local party has candidates standing in Dunston Hill & Whickham East, Lobley Hill & Bensham and Wardley & Leam Lane.

David Byrne, chairperson of the Greens in Gateshead commented “We are standing in the wards most badly affected by the current Labour administration’s plan to tear up the green fields around the fringe of Gateshead. With a plan to build thousands of new houses and warehouses on greenbelt land, we will fight them at every turn. This is a policy serving the interests of developers and landowners, not the people of Gateshead. The continuation of the failed Pathfinder programme under a new name in central Gateshead is a policy of confiscating working class people’s  houses to benefit developers and shows that Labour has abandoned the people who vote for it.”.

Andy Redfern, the candidate in Lobley Hill and Bensham added “With brown field sites unused and undeveloped around the borough why are Labour planning to tear up the fields around Watergate Country Park and Whickham Highway? It’s a senseless destruction inspired by a mistaken belief that Gateshead needs growth at any cost and at any price.”

The campaign is underpinned by substantive 48-page critique of the One Core Strategy proposed by Newcastle and Gateshead councils. David Byrne said “Newcastle and Gateshead need a radical alternative. The One Core Strategy does not deliver this. The development of a local plan is the one opportunity local government has to do something about the issues facing people. The Labour Party locally like the Labour Party nationally seems to have forgotten that it is meant to represent the interests of ordinary people, not big business. Any attempt to implement this flawed plan would inflict unsustainable damage, contrary to its rhetoric about sustainability, local needs, community well-being, and quality of life.”

Andy Redfern added “A vote for the Greens is a vote to send the One Core Strategy to the recycling bin. It needs a full rethink and a more believable analysis of the challenges ahead for the area. We don’t want jam tomorrow – we need action on jobs and the environment today.”

Gateshead Greens are also appalled at the lack of consultation and continuing policy vacuum around the transport provision in the Borough. The Lobley Hill Interchange is the busiest in the area with more than 105,000 vehicle movements a day. Yet despite spending hundreds of thousands on a new bus lane in Lobley Hill, the associated Park and Ride scheme to ease congestion was cancelled by the Con\Dem coalition. A lack vision from the local Labour administration means that building roads ends up being the only response.

The full list of wards and candidates is as follows:

  • Dunston Hill & Whickham East – Mary Blanchflower
  • Lobley Hill & Bensham – Andy Redfern
  • Wardley & Leam Lane – Stephen Watson

Gateshead Greens believe that no strategy can be worthwhile unless it is based on a sound analysis and articulates an appropriate way forward, both in term s of a long-term vision and steps towards it. We believe that Gateshead could be rejuvenated by action plan based on the following key policies:

  • Invest in renewable energy generation projects, including district heating and co-generation schemes;
  • Direct funding to best standard home insulation and ‘solar roofs’;
  • Encourage ‘green collar’ jobs in fields ‘eco-industries’, alongside full blooded recycling programmes;
  • Take the ‘green scissors’ to extravagant retail, hotel & other unsustainable development projects;
  • Curb excessive executive salaries and perks, helping the low paid instead;
  • Favour buses, rail and other public transport, with the aim of a big reduction in private car use;
  • Provide a much better deal for cyclists and pedestrians;
  • Develop ‘streets for people’ and play streets through 20 mph zones & much more extensive pedestrianisation;
  • More support for local shops and for local farmer’s market, sourcing, as much as possible, foodstuffs from the region;
  • Oppose more giant supermarkets and ‘retail parks’;
  • Create more allotments & ‘rooftop gardening’ schemes;
  • Manage parks and public gardens organically;
  • Encourage more wildlife protection schemes as well as protect local trees, plus far more tree planting programmes;
  • Make decision-making more local through the use of neighbourhood budgets;
  • Create more transparency in local council decision-making;
  • Use council procurement programmes to encourage the above objectives

Gateshead Green Party delighted at reprieve for Bill Quay Community Farm 0

Posted on March 19, 2012 by GatesheadGreens

North East Greens are delighted and relieved that Bill Quay Community Farm has had a reprieve. This precious urban farm in Gateshead was facing complete withdrawal of funding from Gateshead council from April 1st, which would have meant the farm having to close. As well as providing vital green space for the whole community in a heavily urbanised area (bordering Gateshead and South Tyneside), the farm has done excellent work over the last 25 years, highlighting environmental issues and encouraging people to grow their own food and cook it.

The voluntary farm association which helps run the farm called for people to sign a petition to demand the council to change their mind and give them more time to find a way to take over. Their plea for help resulted in a massive community campaign, supported by Greens in Gateshead, South Tyneside and right across the region. By the time of Council budget meeting at the end of last month, the campaign had delivered 3,232 signatures on the petition, both online and on paper, as well as lots of media coverage. This succeeded in putting enough pressure on the council that they have relented. They deferred the total withdrawal of funding till 2013 and will fund the farm on a ticking over basis till then.

The voluntary farm association say they now have time to establish a good partnership to take the farm on in one year’s time. Clare Satow from the farm association (and the wonderful Bill Quay Fabric Workshop) expressed their thanks to everyone who signed the petition and said

“We have been greatly strengthened in our resolve by the support you have given us. We have been overwhelmed by the numbers of people writing to them and coming to the farm and telling them how much they value the farm.”

Shirley Ford, Green Party regional coordinator, says she is keeping in touch with the farm association to see how their plans progress and if there is any further support they need. She found huge support for the farm at the school in South Tyneside where she works, where all the staff signed the petition and spread the word to their friends and families. They all said how much they love the farm, having taken both their own children and classes from the school to have a valuable taste of the countryside on our doorstep.

We also look forward to many more wonderful Green events at the farm, like our mini green festival last June.

The fleecing of British rail users 0

Posted on January 13, 2012 by GatesheadGreens

Figures show that British rail fares are drastically higher than the rest of Europe, with London and the South East suffering the most expensive prices. Statistics released by the Campaign for Better Transport show that the price of a 22 mile annual season ticket can cost up to £3,268 in London, while a similar journey in Italy will cost just £336.

Further analysis of season tickets across Europe show much lower rail fares in countries such as Spain, France and Germany. The next most expensive country in comparison to Britain is Holland, but still on average £1000 cheaper than prices here[1].  As for monthly and weekly season tickets Britain is again way ahead of fellow European countries in terms of price, although the cost is significantly reduced as season ticket length is shortened[2].

British commuters can expect further pain in 2012 with government officials planning on annual rises of RPI inflation plus 3% for January 2013 and January 2014.

Alan FrancisGreen Party National Transport Spokespersoncomments:

“The privatised railway costs more to operate and so fares are higher. The fare increases by the train companies are passed straight back to the government. The railways need to be brought back into public ownership so that we can have better services and lower fares”.

Low income commuters will be hit hardest by the government’s decision to cut the rail subsidy which forms part of a programme to cut across the board and attempt to reduce taxation. Some can even expect to pay up to 20% of their wages on daily travel.  However this will mean little to people across Britain who can pay over £10 a day for a return ticket to work and back

Green Party launches “Diversity Champions” network 0

Posted on February 27, 2011 by GatesheadGreens

27 FEBRUARY 2011

At its spring conference in Cardiff, the Green Party has launched an internal support network for “Diversity Champions” in each local branch of the Green Party.

The network will begin to address black, minority, and ethnic community representation, as well as bringing more working-class people into the Green Party.

Farid Bakht, the Green Party’s 2010 general election candidate in Bethnal Green and Bow in East London, said: “If our policies are good for small business people and the local economy, it makes sense to engage with ethnic minorities who own small businesses. However, at the local party level, we have an ingrained habit that says ‘Jean Lambert, our London MEP, is engaging with Tamil communities and Kurdish communities in London, so our local party don’t need to.’”

“In contrast, in Tower Hamlets, we were having Green Party street stalls in Columbia Road Flower Market. Apart from half the flower market attendees being tourists, it made more sense to have our stalls at Whitechapel Market, where a far more diverse community shops.

“And we’ve begun to engage the 4 TV stations, 2 radio stations and 12 newspapers that serve the Bangledeshi community in Tower Hamlets.”

Bakht continued: “Local parties, in their membership, need to reflect the ethnic diversity in their area. In Tower Hamlets, that may mean aiming for 40% members being Bangladeshi. In North Tyneside, that could mean outreach to Balkan and Chinese minorites.

“It’s about getting stuck in and forgetting language barriers and talking with people. For example, the 26th March is not only a TUC national march against cuts, but the anniversary of Bangledeshi Independence, and local parties need to be doing media and outreach work on both issues that fortnight.”

Council cuts worsening North-South divide, say Greens 0

Posted on February 18, 2011 by GatesheadGreens

18 FEBRUARY 2011

The swathe of council job losses across England and Wales is set to worsen the North-South divide as Northern councils are disproportionately hit by government cuts, the Green Party said today.

Figures show that the North West and North East are to suffer twice as much as Southern regions, with the North seeing 6.3 in every 1000 existing jobs lost whilst in the South it is 3.1. The West Midlands is also disproportionately badly affected with 5.7 per 1000 jobs set to be lost.

With the number of planned job losses climbing above 150,000 for the first time, the Green Party’s deputy leader Adrian Ramsay said:

“These figures demonstrate the socially destructive potential of the cuts. It is absolutely unacceptable that the areas with the greatest need for investment are being most affected by the cuts programme.

“This clearly highlights the need to work towards a more diverse, secure and sustainable economy in the North whilst tackling over-development pressures on services and the environment in London and the South.”

Adrian Ramsay stressed the importance of investing in an already fragile economy, concluding:

“Instead of these harmful cuts, which are worsening national divides and increasing inequalities, the government should introduce a system of progressive taxation and job creation.”

The Greens also pointed out that while the North-South economic divide continues to be a matter of concern, it should not be allowed to hide the fact that there are areas of deprivation and relatively high unemployment within the relatively affluent regions.


Green Party beats all other parties on global justice, says World Development Movement 0

Posted on April 29, 2010 by GatesheadGreens

The World Development Movement has analysed and scored the main parties’ policies on international development – and has rated the Green Party higher than any other party.

The Greens, who score an impressive 8 out of 10, come out on top on issues such as trade justice, international aid and IMF reform, ahead of the Liberal Democrats (6 out of 10), Labour (5 out of 10) and the poorly scoring Conservatives, who lag behind on a score of just 3 out of 10.

To tackle world poverty, the Green Party has said the UK should:

  • Introduce a “Robin Hood” tax  which would generate as much as £250bn by taxing bankers transactions by a tiny amount (maybe 0.05%). This money would be used to tackle global poverty, as well as tackling climate change and investing in public services.
  • Increase aid by exceeding the UN’s target and allocating at least 1 per cent of UK Gross National Produce for aid by 2011, adding an extra £4.5bn pa. This aid should be targeted for the poorest, not involve economic policy conditions, respect gender equality and not be diverted to equipping security forces.
  • Keep an International Aid Department separate from the Foreign Office, so as to separate foreign policy interests from humanitarian assistance.

Green Party leader Caroline Lucas, herself a former policy advisor for Oxfam, commented today:

“I am delighted to see that Green Party policies are considered better than those of the other parties.

“We think our policies would radically improve the lives of the poorest.

“When it comes to international aid, we would exceed the UN target.

“The “Robin Hood” tax, which officially became Green Party policy at our spring conference in February, would provide billions of pounds to tackle global poverty, whilst taking a minute percentage of large financial transactions.

“We are on the brink of getting our first MPs into Westminster, which would mean an independent voice in parliament talking about these vital issues, and holding the Government to account.”

Julian Oram, the World Development Movement’s head of policy commented:

“Anti-poverty campaigners have been shocked by the Conservative party’s admission that part of the aid budget under a Tory government could be used for British military operations in developing countries.

“And Labour’s promise to help countries cope with climate change would also come out of the aid budget, diverting finance away from health and education, rather than being additional to that much needed aid.

“The take-home message to the three main party leaders is: must do better if you genuinely want to tackle the root causes of global poverty.”


1. For more information please see:

2. to read more about the Robin Hood tax please see:

Aren’t you a single issue party? 0

Posted on April 26, 2010 by GatesheadGreens

Of course not. Being green covers every area of life. In summary the Green Party manifesto can summarised as follows.

The banking system

The Green Party would not bail out bankers with taxpayers’ money, but fight for a fair financial deal, with community banks, credit unions and mutuals, providing realistic loans.

We will fight to introduce a High Pay Commission to ensure bankers and highly paid executives are not rewarded for failure.

Health and the NHS

Over £1billion of public money is wasted on privatisation despite quality of care suffering when hospitals and surgeries are treated like profit-driven businesses rather than public services.

Greens oppose cuts, closures and privatisation and demand a full programme of locally accessible services. We will provide free social care to the elderly, abolish prescription charges, re-introduce free eye tests and ensure widely available NHS chiropody. We will also fight to restore free dental care and provide everyone with an NHS dentist.


Under The Green Party all pensioners would receive a non-means tested pension of £170 per week. We would also provide free care and support for those living independently..

The Green Party would introduce free home insulation for all, with priority for pensioners and those living in fuel poverty.


Britain has a shortage of affordable, good quality housing to buy or rent.

The Green Party will make it easier for people to get on the property ladder, to protect home-owners and to eradicate homelessness by:

Building new council homes, supporting the development of housing co-ops, bringing back into use 300,000 long-term empty private sector homes, renovating 37,000 empty council homes to help cut waiting lists, giving social housing tenants greater control over the management of their homes and neighbourhoods, improving the quality of housing stock to help reduce household bills and helping people at risk of repossession keep their homes via a Right to Rent scheme.

Jobs and a living wage

Our priority is the creation of an extra million jobs and training places. A £44bn package of measures would include workforce training, investment in renewables, public transport, insulation, social housing and waste management.

To reduce inequality The Green Party will fight for a National Minimum Wage of 60% of net national average earnings, currently £8.10 per hour.


Train fares in England are some of the highest in Europe. The Green Party would re-nationalise trains to improve service and lower fares.

We would divert £30bn from road projects into public transport. We would spend £1.5bn subsidising public transport to reduce fares up to 10%. This would strengthen communities, reduce crime, improve health, reduce traffic fatalities and create 160,000 jobs.

Tories target North East for savage cuts 0

Posted on April 24, 2010 by GatesheadGreens

So at last the truth is out. All three old parties have talked about post election cuts but no one has been willing to say where they will fall. The Tory leader David Cameron left us no doubt yesterday during his interview with Paxman where those cuts would fall first – right here in the North East.

I guess it should come  as no surprise given the Tories are not set to win any more seats in the North East that they should start their programme of cuts right here. So far from investing to support and develop the most disadvantaged of the English regions, the Tories look set to cut its support first. Far away from London and so far away from being a Tory priority.

More than 48% of workers in the North East work in jobs which are funded by the state. Surely this is the time to invest rather than cut back? It now looks like only the Green Party is left to protect jobs and boost local services in the North East of England. Stimulating the private sector won’t happen if we first decimate the public sector.

Vote Tory – more like Vote P45 is you live in the North East and work in public sector.

If you want read more about what Cameron said checkout the Guardian lead story.

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