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Views sought to help North Tyneside remember and reflect on the impact of the pandemic

Residents of North Tyneside are being asked for their views on artwork to help remember and reflect on the impact of the pandemic.

Residents, families and communities across the Borough have lost loved ones, employment, contact with friends and a more normal way of life. This is an important opportunity to create unique spaces of reflection and areas of collective commemoration.

As the vaccine rollout and a greater understanding of the virus continues to bring optimism for the future, communities are looking for ways to reflect on their shared experiences.

North Tyneside Council is planning to create lasting, physical memorial areas allowing for pause and reflection in five locations linked with the borough’s 30-mile wagonway network.

Once used to haul coal to ships on the River Tyne from dozens of coal mines in the borough, the historic wagonways date back to the 19th century.

The routes help connect the borough with a central point at Silverlink Biodiversity Park, sometimes known as ‘Sundial park’ due to the giant structure on top of a hill – the highest point in North Tyneside. One of the reflection areas will be situated in the park.

All the reflection areas will be based around the theme of a compass, detailed in decorative hard landscaped paving, with seating provided and natural planting as places to sit and reflect.

The compass design has been selected as the word compass combines two Latin words – ‘com’ which means together and ‘passus’ which means pace or step. Together they can be interpreted to mean ‘journey together’ which is something that communities in North Tyneside have done throughout the pandemic.

A design relevant to each additional location in the borough will feature in centre of the compass and residents are being asked to choose their preferred creatives.

Elected Mayor, Norma Redfearn CBE said: “We know that the pandemic is not over, but we also know that our communities want to commemorate and remember those we have lost and reflect on our shared experiences.

“As well as those who have sadly passed away from the virus, many people have suffered loss in different ways. This has included loss of employment, loss of the contact with love ones or a sense of loss of a certain way of life. However, community spirit has shone through in the face of a common enemy – I am immensely proud of the strength and determination that has been shown across all of North Tyneside.

“The pandemic saw more people than ever get outside to walk and cycle so places linked with the wagonways seems a natural location for the areas of reflection. The designs will provide areas for quiet reflection, to show our incredible community strength by reconnecting our residents to our borough and will be a lasting reminder of the struggles we all overcame.

“We’d really like residents to tell us what they think should be in the centre of each compass and I’d encourage everyone to provide their views.”

The locations and suggestions for the middle of the compass include:

  • Killingworth Lakeside Park in the North West – Mining or George Stephenson locomotive
  • Churchill Playing Fields in the North East – Dome or Lighthouse
  • Wallsend Hall Grounds in the South West – Shipbuilding or Segedunum
  • Redburn Dene Park in the South East – Fishing or Priory

The fifth area of contemplation, at Silverlink Biodiversity Park, will feature a sun in the middle of the compass.

The locations for the areas of reflection:

  • Killingworth Lakeside Park
  • Churchill Playing Fields
  • Wallsend Hall grounds
  • Redburn Dene Park
  • Silverlink Biodiversity Park.

Download the consultation proposal here

You can provide your views via the ‘have your say’ section on the North Tyneside Council website,  or by using the Community Corners at Customer First Centres. The survey will be open until 14 January 2022. You can also access the survey via this link.

If you would like to comment on these proposals, please email SpiritofNorthTyneside@northtyneside.gov.uk.

The designs will be available to review in the North Tyneside Customer First Centres on the following dates:

  • 29th Nov – 4th Dec – Whitley Bay CFC
  • 6th – 11th December – Wallsend CFC
  • 4th – 8th January –  North Shields CFC
  • 10th – 14th January – White Swan CFC

The consultation closes on 14 January 2022.