Tyne and Wear
The brain child of local business man Sir John Hall, the MetroCentre on the outskirts of Gateshead and Newcastle epitomises the rise of out-of-town shopping centres. Previously a North American concept, these were built across the country in the 1980s.
Changes to the planning system and government policy set the scene for the arrival of the MetroCentre in 1986. As the country came out of recession, the boom years of the mid to late 1980s provided the right conditions for the retail innovation. Large retailers were looking for bigger shops to meet growing consumer demands; the MetroCentre was home to the first out-of-town Marks and Spencers.
Settling on a huge industrial waste land in Gateshead on the banks of the River Tyne, previously the site of Dunston Power Station, the MetroCentre became and remains the largest shopping and leisure centre in Europe.