Security bollards underneath the Millennium Bridge in Gateshead are to be removed as they "detract from the elegance" of the walkway.

The Newcastle Evening Chronicle has reported that the bollards, officially called the Vessel Collision Protection System, were originally installed in 2000 to stop ships sailing along the Tyne River colliding with the iconic bridge.

Now they will be removed as of January 2012 following criticism that they were not part of architect Jim Eyre's original vision for the bridge.

After observations the bollards have been deemed to be unnecessary and Gateshead council will now begin to remove them from the river.

Councillor John McElroy, cabinet member for transport at the council, told the source: "Many visitors have commented over the years that the bollards detract from the elegance of the bridge, but we’ve been committed to retaining them in the interests of river safety."

The Millennium Bridge was opened in 2000 and has been dubbed "the winking eye" due to its unusual tilt.

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