It’s been a while since I mentioned Gateshead’s iconic monstrous car park, which quite remarkably, is still there. The demolition contractors have flattened the shops that surrounded it, and the area has been fenced off since, err, umm, quite a long time. It was generally expected to come down last year, but no. I read a report recently that suggested that the current delay is because Gateshead Council are waiting for Tesco (who own the site) to come up with an actual, detailed plan for what they intend to build. There was a slightly vague “public consultation” a while back, which consisted of some pictures and models of something vaguely like what somebody might build being put on show, but it was a little lacking in actual detail. The sooner the two parties stop playing silly buggers the better, as I really, really, really want to see this thing gone:
On the other hand, another Gateshead landmark is getting some proper treatment. The Central Bar, located just off the Gateshead end of the Tyne Bridge, is an interesting building – very narrow at one end, obviously to make maximum use of the plot available when it was built, and with lots of nice architectural detail.
Unfortunately, over the last however many years, it’s been decaying. The surface of the building is crumbling, there are signs of damage being caused by previous repair attempts, and a quite nasty flaking paint job. But woo, and hoo! It’s been acquired by The Head of Steam – a company which runs a few places in Newcastle, which have a tendency to live music and a good selection of drinks at non-extortionate prices. With the aid of some funding from Gateshead Council and the National Lottery, the premises are being completely refurbished. The exterior is currently under cover while it gets restored:
The bar is open while this is going on, but presumably it will shut (perhaps in stages) while the interior is restored to something approaching its original Victorian style. Nice.
 I decided not to lie
 Which would have been several years late for my liking, but never mind
 Possible use of understatement