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Contributed by Dr Angela Drakakis-Smith

Those who have followed the development of the former Georgia Pacific site opposite to St Giles’s Church along the A34 and next to the former Pomona Inn, might notice that the shell of the new building is now with us.  Whilst the exterior appears better than first thought in terms of materials and colours used, it stands like a fortress over the town.  Although this building might be one of many marking the ‘new’ edge of the town centre, it stands, in the same way as the multi-story car park, the Vue cinema and Midway buildings, as a visual and physical barrier between the town centre and the rest of the town.  Although the ‘castle/fortress’ dimension of Newcastle has become obsolete the mind-set remains along with the continuing belief that such buildings ‘fit’ or are visually appealing and welcoming.  One can only sympathise with those who have this building at the bottom of their garden.  The rest of us can simply avert our eyes.