WORK to regenerate Gateshead town centre has taken another step forward with the dismantling of a towering crane.
A specialist crane was transported hundreds of miles from Scotland to take down the smaller crane in place at the £150m Trinity Square development.
The tower crane taken down was tall enough to place two Angel of the Norths on top of each other while they are standing on the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art.
It had been a prominent feature above the Trinity Square site for almost a year.
Standing 266ft tall, it has lifted and positioned building materials. Thousands of tonnes of steel have been picked up by it.
But over the weekend the machine was dismantled by an even bigger one to allow construction to enter the important next phase.
The 330ft tall, 500-tonne travelling crane was escorted along the A1 from Scotland and was erected through the night.
Paul Dodsworth, projects director with construction company Bowmer & Kirkland, said: “It’s an exciting milestone for everyone involved and signifies the progress that has been made.
“We have been on the development now for 15 months and a lot of building has been done in that time and the crane has dominated the skyline.
“The regeneration of Gateshead is long overdue and Trinity Square will be a huge asset to the region. It will make Gateshead into a night-time destination and help boost the local economy.
“I have had nothing but positive comments about the regeneration.
“We’ve had 500 people on site and this has presented great employment opportunities – up to 70% of the employees have been from the North East.”
The revamped Trinity Square is due to open in late spring and will feature 45 shops, bars and restaurants, a cinema, health facilities, a Tesco Extra, new town square and 993-bed student accommodation for Northumbria University.
It is the largest project of its kind outside London and is creating over 1,000 jobs.
In all, three tower cranes have been used in the Trinity Square development.
The second of the cranes will be dismantled in March and the final one next year.
Mick Henry, leader of Gateshead Council, said: “The tower cranes have been a constant source of interest for many months now, moving busily back and forth with steel for the rapidly emerging town centre.
“So while seeing this colossal structure removed is tinged with sadness, it’s a very exciting moment too.
“It means we’re getting ever closer to the opening of the new bars, restaurants, shops and cinema that we’ve all been waiting for.”