This is probably the last picture I’ll post of Gateshead’s controversial car park before demolition starts. I’ve heard all the arguments about “architectural merit” and in my not even slightly humble opinion, they don’t really hold up. This is a lump which fails in its basic purpose of being a place to park cars. Like a lot of buildings of its generation, the materials used were not of the best quality, which has led to lumps dropping of it over the years. Concrete repairs were done some years ago, leaving some attractive patches all over the thing, but even after that, the upper levels could not be used. The plan to have a restaurant with amazing views on the top never materialised (I believe there were concerns about fire escape routes, or some such). It dominates the town centre and takes up a lot of space that could be used for other purposes, both commercial and social. Damn it, it even spoils the view looking down Grey Street on the other side of the river.
If it was an equally ugly building that served some useful purpose, I might have some sympathy for those who’d like to preserve it, but it really is a colossal waste of space. It has to go, and it is going. Details of what will take its place are not quite with us, but Gateshead should be getting a mixture of shops, maybe a cafe or two and whatever else they can fit around a quite large Tesco store. And while I understand that a lot of people have concerns about Tesco’s dominance of the UK retail market, and even have a concern or two myself, as I do my shopping in the current store, and would quite like to have easy access to one with even more stuff, I’m not objecting to them expanding their presence here.