Shared Access, a company linked with the Football Association and working on behalf of the main mobile phone service providers, have identified a location in Watergate Park suitable to erect a discrete phone mast.  This mast would replace an existing ageing mast being decommissioned on the site of the old council nurseries and will guarantee a good reliable 4G phone and internet signal to the immediate area.  Shared Access have approached the football club, as initial drone work indicates that the areahas the profile suited to providing the mobile phone coverage mobile network providers are seeking. 


Nothing has been signed with Shared Access but if the club agrees, Shared Access will be responsible for seeking the legal sign off and approval of Gateshead Council Planning Dept via the standard consultation and official planning process. 


Information about the project will be made available to club members, parents and coaches and we also hope to display information in the cafe. Updates to the project will appear on the club website as progress is made.


We have attached project information from Shared Access and a NHS leaflet (at the bottom of the page) about the safety of mobile phone masts, which as we know are very much a part of everyday life.  


Executive Committee 


  Watergate Pit

The history of the Watergate area of Lobley Hill/Streetgate/Sunniside is well documented in local history groups and publications and it is worthwhile investigating this through these groups aided by the extensive reference material available.

Watergate Pit was closed in the early/mid-1950's but the railway line that linked it to Dunston Staithes remained in use until the late 1950's. The Lobley Hill Council Estate was built at this time and the road to Whickham had to have a railway barrier across it to allow train and car access.

The Watergate site then fell into severe decline but was located in an area that local people could enjoy walking up to Washingwell Woods and beyond. There used to be an iron bridge at the end of a track from the Streetgate Road which led directly to the very picturesque Washingwell Woods with its stream and bridlepaths were in use to Whickham, Washingwell, Whickham Highway and Lobley Hill.

The coal slag heaps became ugly but permanent fixtures for many years and were mainly used for motorbikes and bicycles recreation; there was also a major problem with underground fires. The derelict Watergate Pit buildings were also extensively vandalised and the site became an eyesore.

However in 2000 Gateshead Council obtained a major grant to change the appearance of this wasted area and it became 'A Green Flag Winning Forest Park'. With its wetlands, woodlands, wildflower meadows and recreational routes, including those for people with disabilities, it is now one of Gateshead's premier visited recreational sites.

After the Park was created in 2000 Gateshead Council approached Whickham Fellside Youth Football Club to ask if they would consider using the large green area as a football venue. Three pitches were then organised and for over four years the Club operated out of two steel containers, the 'Huts' as they became known, located at the side of the pitches. The remaining green area was, and is still used by Emmanuel College for their sporting activities.
The Watergate 'Huts' pre 2004
The area was also well used for the Gateshead Garden Festival Annual Shows together with the Nursery buildings and large area to the left of Whickham Highway. This area is now earmarked for future housing development.
In 2003 the Football Foundation awarded a grant towards the building of a Changing Room and Club Facility for the sole use of Whickham Fellside Youth Football Club. This was completed and opened in June 2004 by the Mayor of Gateshead, Councillor Pat Ronan. Since then up until 2014 WFYFC enjoyed sole use of these facilities and the site was established as their headquarters.
The Club developed rapidly when it introduced small-sided football to its ranks and the current season sees the Club with 26 teams and over 320 young people enjoying football from Under-7's to Under-18's. It is probably one of the largest Youth Football Club in the Borough. This development gave impetus for the Club to expand and it approached Gateshead Council in 2012 about the Lease for Watergate and the Pitches it uses. After many months of dialogue and negotiating these Leases were obtained in December 2014 and the Club are now responsible for the Pavilion and its Pitches. At the same time Emmanuel College obtained the Lease for their sporting area and the two organisations have come together in the 'Watergate Partnership' so that maximum use can be made of the whole area, both the Pavilion and the grassed parts for the benefit of College Pupils and WFYFC Members, this group is becoming well established and a formal agreement is in place. WFYFC hold the sole responsibility of the Lease for the Pavilion which they hope to develop and use extensively in the community.
Both organisations see the area as one to be used by the community and the financial responsibility of the costs of running the facilities is one that dictates the maximum use of it to obtain income, but more importantly, to create maximum use. Many sporting events are already held in and around the Pavilion and the Park beyond; such as the Gateshead Junior and Senior Schools Cross Country Events, Cycling Events, Walking, Fundraising, Craft Fayres, American Football Training, Fit Club usage and many other recreational activities; all of which can be serviced by the building and recreational areas beyond.
Whickham Fellside YFC obtained a grant from the Football Foundation in 2014 which saw an extension to the building. This will be a multi-use room with the intention to use it as a classroom, meeting room, seminar and training room as well as a cafeteria. It is very much part of the further development of the site for the Club, the College and the Community.
A fence has now been erected which forms a visual barrier to the rugby and football pitches and this reflects the ideas of the Club and the College to develop the site even further. Plans to invest in the area for recreational purposes are in hand and both groups look forward to strengthening their relationship with each other and the community.
   Watergate Forest Park (Gateshead Council)
Watergate Pavilion and the football and sports areas
Watergate Park from the air. The lake and paths can be clearly seen as well as the Gateshead Nursey, Emmanuel College and Lobley Hill beyond.