Great North Exhibition Car Park Permission Granted

Great North Exhibition Car Park Permission Granted
A £700,000 Great Exhibition of the North car park has been approved by planners despite already being built. Council bosses blamed “urgency and officers’ oversight” for pressing ahead with the 555-space facility in Gateshead without planning permission.

The car park is intended initially for the 11-week exhibition.

Gateshead Council voted unanimously to grant retrospective planning permission a day before the exhibition opens.

The Great Exhibition of the North, which begins on Friday, will celebrate “art, culture, design and innovation from the north of England”.

Gateshead College had objected to the car park plan over the potential disruption caused to students during the construction of the car park.

Labour councillor Michael Hood said retrospective applications were “frustrating” but he was “satisfied” by the council’s explanation. “I don’t think they have done anything underhand,” he said.

After the Great Exhibition, the car park is intended to mitigate the future loss of the Mill Road and South Shore Road car parks when further development goes ahead of the Quayside, where the council wants to build a new arena and conference centre.

A council spokesman said they worked with planners and had a public consultation even though construction began before planning permission was granted.

They said this was a “pragmatic” approach given the “tight time constraints”.

“When it became apparent that Gateshead Quays would lose much of its car parking at the very time that a huge influx of visitors was expected, we needed to move quickly to provide an alternative,” the spokesman added.