Gateshead Council defends £700,000 car park that hardly anybody is using
Gateshead Council has said a £700,000 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 550-space 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 between June 22 to September 9.
However, weeks after the launch of the exhibition, the car park still isn’t busy.
The council has said the facility – 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.