Background and reporting for Blue House Roundabout Working Group
The Jesmond Residents’ Association (JRA) is a constituted group which represents all residents of Jesmond in relation to planning, antisocial behaviour, alcohol licensing, street cleanliness and all other local issues. The JRA celebrated its 50th anniversary two years ago. In recent years the JRA has established the Jesmond Food Market on Armstrong Bridge as a successful monthly event, has set up a tidy garden scheme to offer low cost gardening to student-rented properties, and has participated in organising events at the Jesmond Community Festival.
The JRA works closely with local councillors, council officers and students in achieving its objectives. Probably its main activity is in examining planning applications and working with residents who have concerns about building in their vicinity, particularly if related to alcohol sales which is a particular bugbear in Jesmond.
The JRA communicates with members by regular email messages, e-bulletins and a summer printed newsletter which goes through every letter box in Jesmond. The email circulation list includes 500 addresses. Printed copies of messages are also placed in the library and we have a dedicated notice board outside Tesco. There are around 8000 residents of Jesmond so communicating with all is imperfect.
Particular concerns in recent months have been the Wylam Brewery in Exhibition Park and its effect on traffic, the state of back lanes which are very untidy, and the impact of noisy students on local residents in certain areas near to Osborne Rd.
We also conducted an analysis of the Acorn Rd consultation process in 2015 when there was much criticism of the council for the way it was carried out.
Obtaining feedback from members
At the present we have three means of gaining feed back from Jesmond residents:
- Individual contacts from residents by email, letter or personal discussion
- Use of the forum on the JRA website jesmondresidents.org
- Public meetings
- is the most commonly used but is time consuming and the numbers reached by this means is small.
- has potential but again there are few users of the forum at present
- has potential but meetings tend to be attended by a minority and are not very useful for obtaining representative views
We are considering using other survey techniques and will be in discussion with digital civics about how to do this.