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Gateshead is a metropolitan borough in Tyne and Wear, in north-east Englandmarker. It is named for its main town, Gatesheadmarker. Other settlements include Rowlands Gillmarker, Whickhammarker, Blaydonmarker and Rytonmarker. Gateshead's suburbs include, Fellingmarker, Pelawmarker, Dunstonmarker and Low Fellmarker.

It is bordered by numerous local authorities including Newcastle Upon Tynemarker to the north, Northumberlandmarker to the west, County Durham to the south, Sunderlandmarker to the south west and South Tyneside to the east.

History

The district has some 190,000 inhabitants and lies within the historic county boundaries of County Durham. The county borough of Gateshead was combined along with the urban districts of Fellingmarker, Blaydonmarker, Rytonmarker and part of Chester-le-Street Rural Districtmarker into the new Metropolitan Borough of Gateshead in 1974. In 1986 the County Council of Tyne and Wear was abolished, and so Gateshead Council effectively became a unitary authority.

There were originally two civil parishes in Gateshead - Birtleymarker and Lamesleymarker, both from the Chester-le-Street RD. Birtley Town Council and parish were abolished on 1 April 2006.

Governance

Parliamentary constituencies

In national government the borough contains three parliamentary constituencies. These are Blaydonmarker, Tyne Bridgemarker and Gateshead East and Washington Westmarker. The Blaydon constituency covers the west of the borough as well as Birtley and is represented by Dave Anderson. The Tyne Bridge constituency covers parts of central Gateshead (and parts of the inner west of Newcastle) and is represented by David Clelland. The Gateshead East and Washington West constituency is located to the east of the borough and includes parts of Washington (in the City of Sunderland). Its MP is Sharon Hodgson.

Local government

Gateshead Council's building.
In total there are twenty two electoral wards in the borough, each ward elects three councillors. The twenty two wards are: -



Gateshead Council is Labour controlled, although the borough does have a significant number of Liberal Democrat councillors. These are largely in the more affluent west of the Borough including Whickham, Ryton and Crawcrookmarker, as well as the more central wards of Low Fellmarker and Pelawmarker. In total there are 41 Labour councillors, 24 Lib Dem councillors, and 1 Liberal Party councillor.

General

As political parties tend are abandoning their previous policy of hosting conferences at seaside resorts, Gateshead has hosted two major political conferences. The first of these was Labour's Spring conference, ahead of the 2005 General Election.. The Conservatives also held a conference at the Sage Gateshead in March 2008. The Conservatives don't have a single councillor in Gateshead and have only one MP in the whole of the north east region. The conference is seen as an attempt to connect to voters in the area.

Education

Gateshead has a number of schools across the borough at both primary and secondary level. Results are well above average, with a number of outstanding schools. . Indeed, Gateshead has amongst the best primary and secondary schools in the country overall.. A range of schools are present in Gateshead, including Jewish, Roman Catholic, Church of England, Methodist and non-religious state schools. There is one independent school in the borough, Chase school in Whickham.. Further independent schools can be found in Newcastle, Sunderland and Tynedale.

Gateshead town itself has a further education college, Gateshead Collegemarker, and a leading Jewish higher education institution.

Environment

Gateshead has a variety of landscapes, urban and industrial areas include the town itself, Felling and Blaydon, with more semi-rural and rural locations in the west including Ryton and Rowlands Gill. Overall though, it is a fairly green area with over half of the borough being green belt or countryside.. Most of this is located away from built up Tynesidemarker to the south of the borough into Derwentside/Chester-le-Street and to the west into Tynedale.

In total, there are over twenty contryside sites in the borough, from ancient meadows and woodland to local nature reserves.

Notable features of Gateshead's countryside include Ryton Willows, found at Old Ryton Village on the banks of the Tyne at Ryton. Ryton Willows is 43 hectares of locally rare grassland and ponds located near to an affluent village with Georgian and Victorian houses. Because of this it is a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

The Derwent valley, in the south/south west of the borough, offers panoramic views and pleasant walks. It was in the Derwent valley, near Rowlands Gill, that the Northern Kites Project re-introduced Red Kites. This was part of a national project to introduce the birds, that were once so commonplace across the country, back into the wild. This scheme has proven to be a big success, with birds being spotted across the west of the borough, from Crawcrook to Rowlands Gill itself.

The borough also contains one National Trust site, the expansive Gibsidemarker estate near Rowlands Gill, containing a stately home and a chapel, parts of its grounds have also been give SSSI status.

Even in the more urban areas of the Borough, in Gateshead itself and to the east, efforts have been made to maintain green spaces and wildlife sites. One such project is Bill Quay Community Farm in east if the borough. Offering a rural experience within an urban setting, it provides an important educational tool for local schools.

Religion

The 2001 census stated that the borough's predominant religion was 80.25% Christian. Other statistics found 10.94% of No religion, 6.94 unstated, 0.82% Jewish and 0.60% Muslim.

Economy

The area was once dependent on heavy industry such as steel making in the Derwent Valley and coal mining (across the borough). Shipbuilding on the Tyne was also a major source of employment. However, with the decline of these industries, Gateshead has attempted to re-invent itself. Although there are significant areas of deprivation in the borough, particularly in the centre and east, a number of towns and villages in the borough are popular with commuters and professionals who are employed in the service industry and well paid areas of secondary industry such as engineering (which remains a major source of employment). Such commuter areas include Ryton, Rowlands Gill, Whickham and Low Fell. The borough is host to Tyne Yardmarker, a major rail freight yard serving the North East.

Gateshead Quayside, once dominated by industry, has benefited from significant investment and gentrification in the past decade. It is now home to the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Artmarker and the Sage Gatesheadmarker. The Anthony Gormley structure, the Angel of the Northmarker (the largest free standing sculpture in the United Kingdom) is also nearby. This puts Gateshead at the forefront of the arts both regionally and nationally.

The area is also an important retail hub, with the largest shopping centre in the European Union, and second largest in Europe as a whole, the MetroCentremarker, situated adjacent to the A1marker trunk road. Further retail, and a significant number of engineering companies are located in the Team Valleymarker Trading Estate, which at one time was the largest industrial estate in Europe.

Sports

Gateshead has a Rugby League team, Gateshead Thunder, in the Championship.

References

  1. [1]
  2. Cycle-routes
  3. [2]
  4. [3]
  5. 2001 Census



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