Council leader makes the case for Tyne Bridge funding

Cllr Nick Kemp visited Downing Street and lobbied for £41.4m of Tyne Bridge funding to be released.
A painting of the construction of the Tyne Bridge hangs on a yellow coloured wall, above a fireplace, in a room at 10 Downing Street. Photo credit: Tyne and Wear Museum and Archives.

The leader of Newcastle City Council has visited 10 Downing Street to push the case for the funding for the iconic Tyne Bridge to be released.

Cllr Nick Kemp was joined by cabinet member Cllr Alex Hay on a visit to London this week as part of a launch event for a Laing Art Gallery exhibition currently on display in Downing Street.

They visited the exhibition on Tuesday where nine artworks from Newcastle proudly on display on the corridor leading from the famous black door of number 10 to the Cabinet Room.

Paintings in the display include a large oil painting by Edward Dickey, depicting the cherished Tyne Bridge mid-construction.

So it was appropriate for Cllr Kemp to use the visit as an opportunity to lobby government ministers on the release of the £41.4m funding package to restore the Tyne Bridge

The funding was confirmed in June 2022 and a final business case submitted to the Department for Transport in July 2023.

Cllr Kemp said: “It was fantastic to attend the exhibition at Downing Street and see artwork depicting our incredibly city on display.

“As proud champion and custodian of the Tyne Bridge it was timely to see a piece depicting its construction in the hallways of number 10. 

“Together with colleagues across both Newcastle and Gateshead, I’ve pushed the case for this funding to be released.

“We are a proud region. We are proud of our heritage, proud of our roots and proud of our icons. We cannot sit back and wait for the promised funding to be delivered.

“I will continue to lobby on behalf of the people of our region who expect and deserve to see this iconic restructure returned to its former glory.”     

The first phase of the restoration to the Tyne Bridge got underway in September, using the councils’ contribution.                      

This was to get work started at the earliest opportunity outside of the kittiwake breeding season, to ensure the work is completed ahead of the bridge’s centenary in 2028.

The main restoration works to the main bridge deck has been scheduled to take place in early 2024 in anticipation of government releasing £41.4 million, for the Tyne Bridge refurbishment and upgrade to central motorway.

This was confirmed in June 2022, with the final business case to secure the funds submitted in July 2023. 

The ambitious four-year programme to the Tyne Bridge includes steelwork repairs, grit blasting and re-painting, concrete repairs, drainage improvements, stonework and masonry repairs, bridge deck waterproofing and resurfacing, parapet protection and bridge joint replacement.

The artworks will remain in the corridor for a year, as part of the Government Art Collection’s ‘Number 10 Museum in Residence’ project.

Related news