Work to remove a number of security bollards underneath the Millennium Bridge in Newcastle upon Tyne has begun.

The barriers, known as the Vessel Collision Protection System, are to be taken down by civil engineers from this week. The work was scheduled to begin last autumn but a floating crane designed to remove the barriers was delayed in transit from Sierra Leone.

Since the bollards were installed ten years ago they have come in for a lot of criticism. The decision to remove them was made in December 2011 after they were said to be "detracting from the elegance" of the walkway and went against the vision of architect Jim Eyre.

Coun John McElroy, cabinet member for transport, told the Newcastle Evening Chronicle: "The bollards did not feature in the original designs for the bridge but were added during the construction phase. Their removal will mean that the bridge will appear, for the very first time, the way its designer originally intended."

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