This is our truth, tell us yours
When Pevsner described Grey Street in Newcastle as the most beautiful street in Britain he recognised something many Geordies already knew. John Betjeman had similar thoughts.
As for the curve of Grey Street, I shall never forget seeing it to perfection, traffic-less on a misty Sunday morning. Not even Regent Street, even old Regent Street London, can compare with that descending subtle curve.
They will have arrived in Newcastle via Central Station, a proud statement made by the city when classicism was gripping it and the brick and tile were being replaced with Grainger’s golden stone. The portico was not only bold but exceptionally practical. You exit the station proper into it;s shelter, where taxi cabs line up to carry you away. You haven’t had a night out until you have joined the taxi queue at 3 in the morning, surrounded by hundreds of drunken Geordies all sheltered from the wind and the rain as they wait their turn. I may never have pulled 2 bi ranger fans who shouted “fuck the pope” as they came, but it has been the end point of many a memorable night out.
So beautiful, and practical and useful for travellers, clearly something must be done! £8.6 million worth of something is being done, the portico is to be glassed off and turned into another shopping center, because the area with the Metro Center and Eldon Square is apparently short of places where people can spend their money
This is what they are calling a great development for the north-east, a production line souless arcade, the portico glassed off, the ever so useful taxis removed and replaced with Starbucks and Sock Shop. This is seems is customer service in 2013, the opportunity to service more customers. East Coast call it stunning, I suppose I am stunned at the waste of money when the north East is suffering from the highest unemployment in the country. Money has come from regional and National government to pay for this, money that we don’t apparently have to keep sure start open or pay for essential services.
This seems to sum up modern infrastructure projects from HS2 to the millennium dome. Rather than usefulness the scale and opportunity to market more tat to the masses seems to be the only motivating force. Huge projects get the nod simply because they are huge and smaller projects that would affect far more people are ignored as they do not have the wow factor required.
The face of one of the countries most beautiful train stations is being permanently changed for no better reason than more shops can be put in it. We dont need to just re nationalise the railways but change how we prioritize these kinds of developments, and how we evaluate the public benefit.