Water sight to behold
EXHIBITION CENTREPIECE WINS BACKING FROM BOTH AUTHORITIES
PLANS for a spectacular fountain that will be the centrepiece of the Great Exhibition of the North have cleared a vital hurdle.
Both Gateshead and Newcastle Councils have now granted planning permission for the stunning water sculpture, which will stretch 80 metres along the River Tyne.
The final sign-off came from members of Gateshead Council’s planning committee yesterday morning, with a unanimous vote in support of the striking installation.
Coun John McClurey joked: “What happens if we refuse it, because that picture has gone all over the world.” The sculpture is expected to be in place until the end of September and its first display is set to be on the festival’s opening evening of Friday, June 22. A choreographed display of 30 water jets will blast vertical columns of water between 25 metres and 50 metres in the air – around the height of the Millennium Bridge – from a pontoon moored from the jetty at HMS Calliope on the Gateshead side of the river. The design of the sculpture has been inspired by the Angel of the North and three different displays are proposed. The effect will last for approximately four to six minutes and will happen every hour on the hour from 10am until 11pm daily.
The opening event on June 22 is yet to be finalised but will use three pieces of music.
Water Sculptures Ltd, the firm behind the plans, created a water display for the opening ceremony of the London Olympics.
The Great Exhibition will also include Stephenson’s Rocket at the Discovery Museum, a weeklong feast of northern music at Sage Gateshead, and a summit to showcase northern business innovation.
There will also be three walking trails showcasing arts, innovation and design and a range of exhibitions at the Great North Museum: Hancock, the Sage and the Baltic gallery.
It is expected to reach three million people and bring in up to £56m for the region’s economy.
How the sculpture could look