2019: I will write about it
2022: you will know it
Some have said this year it was the Aide WaguÃ© project, an effort to restore the historic walls of the north side of the Massey Hall tower, that might have been the event that kick-started the regeneration. The facts of that incomplete project point to the elaborate vehicle park, which may have been the most recent of attempts to turn the battered ship into a functioning vessel. That idea might be the reason why the project is still being piloted, despite the changes that have taken place.
Meldrum Park has changed, but the profile of the new Massey Hall works largely mirrors the yard’s standing before the pandemic. I have written in the past that changes there seemed important if we are to continue providing health, or the decision to close the hall to health visitors earlier this year is to be judged on what is happening. When you can make less than three hundred metres of the open street around the hall legal, though, that shift can’t be particularly significant.
What matters, I think, more than any of the tweaks, technical changes or patching up of Massey Hall is the reappraisal of its place in the wider political and cultural mix in the City. My interests are the possibility of a new light rail link between Newcastle and Gosforth, and the ways in which the sense of a city centre could increase on the main streets of London. To understand that the future of Newcastle needs a clear understanding of how it could be.
What’s the message about the future of Newcastle if we don’t yet have a Massey Hall?
Postscript: To those interested in this issue – I’ve got a Tweet asking if I’d like to promote new ideas for community spaces and schools in my email, with the option of allowing me to add them as an annex to this article, after the New Year. I’m up for some ideas, or indeed some criticism, and I look forward to hearing from you.