Car park will prove Great boon in fu­ture – coun­cil

FA­CIL­ITY BUILT WITH­OUT PER­MIS­SION IS DE­FENDED

The Chronicle - - News -

GATESHEAD Coun­cil has said a car park it built be­fore grant­ing it­self per­mis­sion was not just for the Great Ex­hi­bi­tion of the North, af­ter it has stood al­most empty since the event opened.

The coun­cil was left red-faced last month when it emerged that the 550space car park had been built with­out of­fi­cial ap­proval.

The au­thor­ity blamed ur­gency for the over­sight, and said the tem­po­rary car park in Quar­ry­field Road is pri­mar­ily in­tended to serve the ex­tra vis­i­tors com­ing to Ty­ne­side for the Great Ex­hi­bi­tion of the North.

But weeks af­ter the launch of the ex­hi­bi­tion, the car park still isn’t busy.

The coun­cil has said the car park – which is tem­po­rary with per­mis­sion to be in place for five years – will be used more as the Gateshead Quays is de­vel­oped.

A spokesper­son said: “We knew we were likely to lose park­ing spa­ces on Gateshead Quays for some of the events con­nected to the Great Ex­hi­bi­tion of the North, and also that the start­ing points for two of the three trails were in Gateshead.

“We there­fore wanted to pro­vide al­ter­na­tive park­ing for the pub­lic, and quickly. But we never in­tended this car park to be purely for the ex­hi­bi­tion.

“Later this year, PROTO, the emerg­ing tech­nol­ogy cen­tre, opens at Baltic Quar­ter and con­struc­tion also starts on a ma­jor 54,000 sq. ft. of­fice devel­op­ment, both im­me­di­ately ad­ja­cent to the car park.

“As well as the build­ing con­trac­tors in­volved in build­ing these de­vel­op­ments who will need some­where to park, there will even­tu­ally be around 600 new em­ploy­ees here, and many of those will be look­ing for some­where to park their cars.

“In fact, over the next four or five years we are an­tic­i­pat­ing a se­ries of ma­jor new de­vel­op­ments right across the Gateshead Quays area which will not only re­move large num­ber of ex­ist­ing park­ing spa­ces but will cre­ate huge new de­mand for more.

“Feed­back from po­ten­tial oc­cu­piers sug­gests that the avail­abil­ity of car park­ing is an im­por­tant con­sid­er­a­tion in de­cid­ing where to lo­cate, so hav­ing Quar­ry­field Road ready now means we have every­thing in place to sup­port those de­vel­op­ments.”

The car park is also ex­pected to be well used for the Lit­tle Mix con­cert at Gateshead In­ter­na­tional Sta­dium later this month.

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