Trinity Square Car Park … Still Standing

Friday, August 14, 2009 7:20 | Filed in Local Interest

There’s an ugly rotting lump in Gateshead town centre. It’s a concrete block car park, designed by Owen Luder and described as a fine example of brutalist architecture. Obviously, different sorts of architecture suit different people, so that fact that I personally don’t find it easy to see how any example of brutalist architecture can be described as “fine” doesn’t mean it has any inherent less worth.

Trinity Square Car Park August 2009-- view from the east (flickr)

But I do have other reasons for this. Firstly, the concrete is falling apart, exposing rusting metal rods; what could have been an interesting rooftop restaurant with commanding views over Gateshead and Newcastle never actually opened, the upper levels of the car park have been closed since the 1980s because they are deemed unsafe, and the vast majority of the residents think it looks horrible.

So when demolition plans were unveiled in June 2007 by Gateshead Council and Tesco, a lot of residents were very pleased. Demolition was originally scheduled to begin in January 2008.

Sure enough, in January 2008 all of the other businesses in the area were forced to move or close — including an indoor market which provided a lot of services to the community — to allow the demolition to begin. While that’s not ideal, it was generally felt that this was a necessary evil that the residents had to put up with in order to get rid of the car park.

Trinity Square Car Park August 2009 -- view from the west (flickr)

It was still there in April 2008, when people were offered an opportunity to visit it one last time before it got knocked down, including (when wearing a hard hat) the upper levels, where you could see a sign with 1982 parking prices and a view of the rooftop restaurant.

It was still there — and indeed the car park itself was still open — in September 2008, which I described as shambolic, considering that the town centre had been left without these amenities for eight months during which buggerall had taken place.

The car park is closed now: so not only is the town without the amenities provided by the indoor market, but it also doesn’t have a town centre car park next to the transport hub, which will mean less people will visit the town centre in the first place (rather than parking here, doing some shopping and getting the local metro service to Newcastle, they will just drive to Newcastle) thus making the problems of Gateshead town centre even worse.

Trinity Square Car Park standing but nearby buildings demolished August 2009 (flickr)

I wouldn’t mind that so much if they had been taking any steps to actually, as I’ve previously asked, knock the f***er down, but when visiting Gateshead High Street the other day, I noticed that while some of the buildings around it had been demolished, the car park is still exactly as it was.

Not only that, but there has been no news updates on the demolition on the official Your Trinity Square website since a post from October 2008. Gateshead town centre is being left to rot: progress is slow to non-existent, and all parties involved in this should hang their heads in shame.

It’s a disgrace. It’s not just a disgrace that nothing has been happening; it’s a disgrace that residents aren’t being kept informed of what is going on, why there have been such significant delays, and when we can expect some progress to be made.

Gateshead residents — and businesses — have a right to expect better.

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16 Comments to Trinity Square Car Park … Still Standing

  1. John H says:

    August 14th, 2009 at 10:01 am

    We must have read each other’s minds! I agree with you 100%. It is completely unacceptable to close a facility like this and leave it derelict for years. Demolition of the square seemed to grind to a halt about three months ago.

    Tesco’s Gateshead store (the only well-stocked supermarket around) is deteriorating visibly, is badly overcrowded and with fridges so old that they seem to be falling apart. Tesco made a commitment to the Town and has let it down badly by dragging its feet in this way. By all accounts, it is still a thriving company and MUST take a long-term view on developments like this, and not get cold feet because of a recession.

    The official web site at is a joke. If you try to post an inconvenient question or negative comment in its forum, it’s just censored out. I guess this is why there are no comments since 2008.

    Come on Tesco – keep your promise and get moving NOW!

  2. Gary Miller says:

    August 14th, 2009 at 10:35 am

    A trip down memory lane indeed! It must be about 5 or 6 years since I was last in Gateshead; before that, about 30 years. The differences even then were readily visible.

    Tell me, is that wonderful herbalist (I think it was called ‘Laws’?) still on the High Street? I have fond childhood memories of visiting my Gran and being taken to a butchers(?), opposite ‘Laws’, for a hot pork & dripping bun. Then, into ‘Laws’ for a glass of either Sarsaparilla or (non-alcholic) apple cider.

    Aaahhh…nostalgia is great! One of the reasons I love your blog is that, quite frequently, you post something about the local area and it instantly brings back memories – happy ones and sad ones.

    Keep going mate!

  3. Andy says:

    August 14th, 2009 at 3:33 pm

    Is that the car park from where Cliff Brumby was thrown in Get Carter (1971 original)? Sure looks like it.

  4. ciderlass says:

    August 14th, 2009 at 4:13 pm

    I’m very sad to announced that ‘Laws’ has gone…

    And yes, the carpark is where Alf met his demise…

  5. ciderlass says:

    August 14th, 2009 at 4:14 pm

    Perhaps I should have had a coffee or wiped the tears from my eyes before I typed that. Grammar? Pah…

  6. mark says:

    August 17th, 2009 at 12:51 pm

    speaking to someone in the know, thompsons of prudhoe (the demlotion company) got kicked off site due to alleged health & safety breaches, thus work stopped but they are back on now.
    i say ‘alleged’ breaches as i’ve heard spenhill developments have a habit of doing this and then re-negotiating costs.

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    January 3rd, 2010 at 10:43 pm

    The new year, and things still seem to be at a standstill. And no matter how much you trawl the Internet, no new information seems to be available.

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