Demolition firm search for Tyneside's 'rocket' flats

Dunston Rocket The first residents moved into the "Dunston Rocket" in 1973

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A council is looking for a contractor to demolish a 29-storey block of flats on Tyneside.

Derwent Tower, in Dunston, Gateshead - which is nicknamed the Dunston Rocket because of its shape - was built in 1973, and has been plagued with problems such as damp.

Gateshead Council plans to redevelop the site and hopes work will begin before the end of year.

The 280ft-tall tower block of 196 flats is now empty.

Former residents had to put up with low water pressure in the taps and lifts frequently breaking down.

The council plans to replace the tower and its 116 adjoining maisonettes with new homes and shops.

A spokeswoman for the council said: "Because of its structural complexity, Derwent Tower will not be demolished with explosives but will be carefully dismantled.

"The whole demolition scheme is likely to take up to 18 months to complete.

"Many people see Derwent Tower as representing all that was wrong with the past, when buildings were designed and created as architectural exercises rather than as places to live."

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