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Friday, 30 August, 2002, 18:08 GMT 19:08 UK
City chaos after building collapse
The evacuated streets in Newcastle
Police have closed a number of streets in Newcastle
A large part of Newcastle city centre was brought to a standstill because a building is in danger of complete collapse.

The former TSB bank - on the corner of Westgate Road and Grainger Street - partially collapsed at lunchtime on Friday.

The building began to fall as workmen carried out work to convert the former bank into a bar.

Newcastle City Council said the building would be partially demolished on Friday evening, but that structural engineers would attempt to save its Grade II listed facade.

Traffic problems

Several roads in the city centre have been closed and the Metro transport system disrupted, causing major traffic congestion.

The building is sited directly above the Metro tunnel in Newcastle.

A spokesman said services had been suspended between Central Station and Monument until Saturday and a replacement bus service was in operation.

A spokesman for Tyne and Wear Fire Brigade said: "We have been there since shortly before mid-day after being informed of a building that was in danger of collapse."

'No injuries'

A spokesman for Newcastle City Council said: "A wall at the rear of the premises and part of the roof will be demolished this evening [Friday].

"This will remove the immediate danger and allow experts to make further assessment of the rest of the building."

A spokesman for Northumbria Police said the area cordoned off was from Grainger Street, at its junction with the Bigg Market, to Westgate Road.

Clayton Street was also closed from its junction with Grainger Street.

And Grainger Street was closed to its junction with Neville Street.

He added: "We are not aware of any injuries and as a precaution neighbouring buildings have been evacuated."

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The BBC's Jane Chilton
"This listed building is totally unstable"

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