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Community Facilities

Extract from the Nunthorpe Design Statement Evidence Portfolio



1                     Scope
Though the geographical area covered by this Design Statement is limited to that part of Nunthorpe that falls into Middlesbrough, and not at present the eastern area that is the responsibility in local government terms, of the Borough of Redcar and Cleveland, it must be stressed at the beginning of this section that the inhabitants of Nunthorpe do not see that their lives are compartmentalised, as far as Community and Social facilities and activities are concerned, in this limited way.  They see themselves as part of the whole community of Nunthorpe and do not restrict themselves only to being part of one of the local government divisions.  This feeling, and the disadvantage that they perceive from being treated as two separate areas in terms of local government, was a constant theme through the discussions relating to this section of the document.  Their social activities cross the dividing line between the two boroughs: there is no artificial division, and they strongly feel that any future development should enhance the ‘single community’ aspects of life in Nunthorpe, rather than emphasising the split.

2                     Present community and Social Facilities

2.1          Formal organisation and representation

Local Council representation – two local councillors represent the ‘Middlesbrough’ part of Nunthorpe, and two more the Redcar and Cleveland part, their constituencies also covering part of Ormesby

Nunthorpe Parish Council – activities are limited to the Middlesbrough part of Nunthorpe

Nunthorpe Community Council – a group of local residents whose activities cover the Middlesbrough part of Nunthorpe

Nunthorpe Forward – a group of local residents whose activities correspond to those of the Nunthorpe Community Council, but cover the Redcar and Cleveland part of Nunthorpe

Greater  Nunthorpe Group - A group of active residents who wish to combine the two Nunthorpes divided by the railway line, on a philosophical and practical level despite the political divide

Policing – Nunthorpe has no Police Station nor regular police representation but is served by Clevekland Constabulary from its bases in Middlesbrough or in Redcar and Cleveland as appropriate.

2.2          Transport

Buses ­ - a variety of services are provided passing along Ormesby Bank, Guisborough and Stokesley Roads and Dixon’s Bank, as well as a much-valued smaller bus  service from the Rosedale Road area to Middlesbrough town centre via Nunthorpe Station, The Avenue and Stainton Way.  There is also an occasional service to the Parkway Shopping Centre in Coulby Newham

Trains – there are regular but infrequent services to and from Nunthorpe Station to Middlesbrough, and also less frequent services to and from Whitby and stations on the Esk Valley line. 

2.3          Health and Recreation facilities

Sport – facilities are provided by the Nunthorpe and Marton Playing Fields Association, Guisborough Road (‘The Recreation Club’).  This is open by subscription to members (adult and junior) for football, cricket, hockey, squash, tennis and various other sports.  It also has social membership with a fully licenced bar, and its fields, with adjacent footpaths, are an invaluable asset to the local public for walking, exercise and access to the green space to the south of Nunthorpe.

Nunthorpe Comprehensive School – through its Adult Education (Nunthorpe Learning and Leisure) and Youth and Community activities, provides use of its indoor sports facilities (gym, dance and fitness centre) to the general public through its evening classes or associated clubs and to a lesser extent, of its playing fields, on a for hire basis.

Other Schools – Junior and primary schools in the area have significant open spaces but these are mostly fenced off, and used only for school-sponsored activities or certain organisations eg Scouting

Children’s Play Areas ­– there are three open children’s playground areas, in Rosedale Road, The Avenue and at the north end of Mallowdale

Open space for recreation, walking etc – Nunthorpe has a significant and much-valued amount of open space widely used by the local public – adults and children – for playing, exercise, walking etc.  This includes the playing fields and open spaces adjacent and to the south mentioned above, the fields on either side of the Nunthorpe bypass and around and to the south of St Mary’s Church, the open country to the south of Brass Castle Lane, the areas around Grey Towers and Nunthorpe Village as well as the green spaces between The Avenue and Cookgate and nearby roads.  To the east of the railway, the area to the south of St Mary’s Church Hall bounded by the Morton Carr Lane footpath and the railway (‘the Plantation’) is also much used by local people for exercise.

Health Clubs – The Omega Health Club (private, membership by subscription) is situated in Church Lane.

Public Houses/Hotels – there are two: the Brunton Arms, Stainton Way, and The Tree Bridge Hotel, Stokesley Road.  The Recreation Club has a licensed bar for members.

2.4          Schools and Nurseries

Nunthorpe School (Community Secondary, a Specialist Science and Business Enterprise College)
, Guisborough Road  – is a Foundation School in Redcar and Cleveland Borough, though approximately 65% of its students live in the Middlesbrough Borough Council area

Nunthorpe Primary School, Guisborough Road – is also located in  Redcar and Cleveland Borough, and also has a Morning Club. a Stay 2 Play and a Holiday Club

Chandlers Ridge Primary School, Chandlers Ridge.  It also has a Nursery (3-5 years),  a Morning Club, an After-School Club and Holiday Club

The Avenue Primary School  also has a Nursery (3-5 years)

St Bernadette’s Roman Catholic Primary School, Cookgate  also provides a Nursery (3-5 years), childcare facilities and football coaching

Nunthorpe Nursery Group
– provides private childcare facilities and is located in The Crescent

The Toddle-In Playgroup - a private playgroup, is located in the Nunthorpe Institute at the Avenue School.

2.5          Adult Education

Nunthorpe Learning and Leisure, part of Nunthorpe School, Guisborough Road - provides a full range of Adult Education classes and activities, open to all and using the facilities of the school

Upsall Hall Rural Centre, Guisborough Road – provides Work Skills training for adults with a learning difficulty.  It incorporates a Café and Shop

2.6       Youth and Children’s Groups

                St Mary’s Church provides groups for children of ages 4-8, 8-11, 11-14 and a youth club for          ages 14+, at its church hall, Morton Carr Lane, with supervision by full and part-time youth       workers.

                The Nunthorpe Youth Centre provides a wide range of activities for young persons, and is         operated by Redcar and Cleveland Council in conjunction with Nunthorpe School, in whose              premises it is located.

                Scouts– Scouts, Cubs and Beavers Groups operate in premises at The Avenue School and in       Church Lane.

                Guides – Brownies, Guides and Rangers groups operate at the Nunthorpe Methodist Church    Hall, Connaught Road, and at St Bernadette’s School, Cookgate

2.7          Care Homes

Nunthorpe Oaks Retirement Home, Guisborough Road

Nunthorpe Hall Residential Home, Westside, Nunthorpe Village

Upsall Hall Residential Home, Guisborough Road

 2.8          Centres of Worship

St Mary’s Church (C of E), Church Lane, and at its Church Hall, Morton Carr Lane

Nunthorpe Methodist Church, Connaught Road

St Bernadette’s Church (RC), Gypsy Lane

Gospel Hall, Rookwood Road

Christian Meeting Hall, Gypsy Lane

2.9          Shops

Nunthorpe has two groups of shops, one in Guisborough Road near Nunthorpe Station, and the other in The Avenue.  Neither is prospering due to a variety of problems, some local, others in line with national trends such as the increasing domination of remote supermarkets. Both are owned by private landlords. There are several vacant premises and several of the shops are in an unattractive state of repair. There is some evidence that rents sought may be too high to allow tenant businesses to prosper. 

‘The Station Shops’, Guisborough Road include:  Boots local pharmacy, Classique Beautique, Mojo’s Cuisine (takeaway food), Nunthorpe Butchers, Nunthorpe Hair Fashions, Nunthorpe Sub-Post Office, Spar (general dealers), Pizza takeaway.  Rookwood News is located nearby in Rookwood Road. There is one vacant shop at the present time.

‘The Avenue Shops’ include: Avenue Haircare, SunSet Beauty Salon, The Avenue Fish Shop (fish and chips takeaway), Timmy’s (Chinese Takeway), Topstyle (Gents’ Hairdressing). Three shops are vacant at the present time.

2.10        Medical Services 

Nunthorpe Medical Group, Guisborough Road provides GP and related medical services

The Avenue Dental Care, at The Avenue Shops, provides dental services

Nunthorpe Dental Practice, until recently located at the Station Shops, Guisborough Raod, has recently relocated to Stokesley.

2.11 Social and Hobby Groups

A number of groups exist in the area, including the various sporting sections of the Recreation Club, Guisborough Road (Tennis, Squash, Cricket, Football, Hockey, Archery, Quoits) and several sports groups affiliated to Nunthorpe Learning and Leisure, the Adult Education provider at Nunthorpe School.  These include basket ball and badminton.  The Nunthorpe Table Tennis Club meets at the Nunthorpe Institute, at the Avenue School, and the Nunthorpe Bowls Club is situated at its premises on Guisborough Road.

Other social and hobby clubs include

Nunthorpe Players  - an amateur dramatic group based at St Mary’s Church Hall

Nunthorpe Gardening Club

Women’s Institute, meeting at the Nunthorpe Institute, at the Avenue School

2.12        Facilities for meetings and activities

Nunthorpe has no central Village Hall as such, but does not completely lack facilities for meetings and social activities.  St Mary’s Church and Nunthorpe Methodist Church both can provide some facilities, and school halls can also be used, usually by special arrangement.   The Nunthorpe Institute, formerly the equivalent of a village hall in Connaught Road now operates at The Avenue School, and can offer a variety of small to medium rooms for meetings etc. 

3 .0  Limitations on current facilities
The facilities most lacking in Nunthorpe are, according to the consultations we have done         with a wide variety of residents are:

                3.1          Better shops, with better parking.  There has been much comment on the falling            number of local shops, and the limited range of those remaining, as well as the poor state of    the premises they occupy.  There is much adverse comment about the poor facilities for parking                 at the Station shops and the Medical Group: it is extremely crowded and unsafe      particularly for pedestrians because it is across the wide pavement in front of them. 

                The shopping area in The Avenue is much criticised because of the large number of shop           closures, and the very poor state of repair of the shop buildings and the surface of the car-           parking area in front of them.

                It is however not clear whether Nunthorpe would be able to support an increased number of shops in view of high rents and the increasing competition from large supermarkets and out-    of-town shopping areas such as Teesside Park, especially if local landlords are not committed      to supporting local commerce.

3.2          Library     The closure of the local branch library by Redcar and Cleveland Council in the 1990s was and continues to be the subject of much adverse comment, despite the occasional visits of a Middlesbrough Council mobile library to Marton Moor Road.  Many people would like to see a permanent facility reinstated, though the former central location is now no longer available.  Alternative locations eg the Nunthorpe Institute, or at Nunthorpe Secondary School suffer from being significantly away from the geographic centre of the area. 

Consultation with the Student Voice Group at Nunthorpe School[1] highlighted the lack of library facilities as one of their major concerns for the whole community, not just limited to the needs and interests of young people.

3.3          A Centre for Nunthorpe   As noted above, though there are a number of buildings which can be used for meetings etc. Nunthorpe has no location seen as central to its activities, nor a place where information on local activities is readily available.  This is especially noted since the closure of the local library (see above).

                3.4          Youth facilities

While groups for young people are run by St Mary’s Church, by Scout and Guides Groups, there are seen to be only limited facilities for youth generally in Nunthorpe, with the only youth centre operated by Redcar and Cleveland Council and Nunthorpe School on the eastern edge of the area, and no facilities or youth groups operating in the western (Middlesbrough) area, where there are greater perceived young-people-related problems.  This lack was noted particularly during consultation by the Parent Voice Group of Nunthorpe School[2], who also suggested that coffee-bar or similar facilities for less organised but equally desirable social activity for youngsters should be a higher priority.

4              What should be retained in Nunthorpe?

Consultation with several of the community groups indicates strongly that while there are limitations to the physical facilities Nunthorpe, the most valued aspects of the area are its excellent surroundings – the fact that it is not surrounded by other developed areas, but has very good immediate access to open country immediately to the south.  While certain of its built amenities could be improved, there is no desire at that this should be at the expense of the adjacency of the countryside, fields, trees, footpaths and views.  Thus any building development south and west of the existing built-up areas would be very unwelcome indeed, as would further development on green areas within the existing pattern of building.   There was no support for the idea that Nunthorpe’s excellent proximity to the countryside should be sacrificed in exchange for provision of extra ‘built’ social or community facilities provided or financed by developers.

5              Traffic and road safety

Although ‘traffic and road safety’ is primarily a planning terminology and may not be regarded as social and community facilities, the people of Nunthorpe clearly see them as problems which are increasingly detrimental to their surroundings – they view their ability to move safely and conveniently around their area as on important community facility.  There was much adverse comment from groups consulted on the way that the amount of traffic, particularly ‘through’ traffic, has been allowed to rise unhindered, and indeed has been intensified in certain areas by the unnecessary and unwanted closure of Gypsy Lane rail crossing.  Older residents are particularly critical of the high traffic density on Guisborough Road, and the dangers associated with the large number of cars parking at the Station Shops and the poor arrangements for this (lack of separation of parking from the pavement etc).  People consulted thought that further development would inevitably lead to higher volumes of traffic through Nunthorpe, with even worse effects on safety and the quality of life.  Young people made a particular point of the need to take action to control traffic along the roads leading to school and past the shops that they use on their way to and from school[3].  The same group in their report also stressed the need for cycle lanes for extra safety and making Nunthorpe a more desirable place in which to live and cycle. 

 6              Conclusions and recommendations

6.1          The most attractive features of living in Nunthorpe are seen as

·         That it is NOT surrounded by built development, and still has immediate access to green countryside and views.  This is seen as a positive and very valuable social facility which must not be sacrificed

·         Public transport is seen on the whole as good, though the frequency of train services less so.

6.2          The main areas of dissatisfaction with community and social facilities are related to

·         The state of shops in the area – their falling numbers and the resulting empty premises, their state of repair and the poor arrangements for parking

·         The density of road traffic, particularly that using Nunthorpe as a through route at peak hours

·         The related problem of safety of pedestrians and cyclists because the high traffic density, narrow pavements and poor road/pavement/parking design and the lack of cycle routes/lanes

·         The lack of a library since it was closed in the 1990s

·          Limited facilities for young people and youth activities

·         The lack of a ‘centre’ for the community – existing facilities are not purpose-built and are widely spread.

6.3          Nunthorpe residents do not want building development which will remove what they perceive as their most important social facility – their immediate proximity to open green countryside and views.  They would not regard provision of extra built facilities as in any way a satisfactory exchange for loss of this.

6.4          They do not want new development which will increase the amount of traffic either through Nunthorpe itself, or on the roads leading to it.

6.5          Development in Nunthorpe should only proceed if it will not cause loss of adjacent countryside or increase the already serious traffic problems that have developed over recent years and are continuing to grow.


 Ian Click

September 2010

[1] Nunthorpe Design Statement – Nunthorpe Secondary School Student Voice Report, 7 July 2010

[2] Notes on the views of Nunthorpe School Parent Voice Group, Ian Click, 8 July 2010

[3] Nunthorpe Design Statement – Nunthorpe Secondary School Student Voice Report, 7 July 2010