£1m ShipYard Crane sits unassembled since 2013 ar Swans Shipyard in UK

The machine was bought in early 2013 by cash-strapped North Tyneside Council , which pledged to use it to enhance the facilities at the Swans yard.

The purchase was funded from the sale of land on the Swans site and at the time the public were told the buy would “attract around 1,000 new jobs”.

But more than three years on the “£1m white elephant” remains unused and sitting in pieces, leading to staunch criticism from opposition leaders.

Liberal Democrat councillor Nigel Huscroft said, in the face of mounting financial pressures, the council needed to “use or lose” the crane.

He said: “The residents of Wallsend will be outraged by this, I cannot believe it is still just lying there unused.

“You think about the pressures that local authorities are facing with all the cuts in funding and we have got a crane worth that much just lying there.

“The council needs to decide what they are going to do with it, either get it up and operational or get rid of it and try and make some money back.”

He added: “It is a £1m white elephant, we need to do something with urgently.”

In 2014 North Tyneside’s Labour group said the previous Conservative administration, headed by its then-elected Mayor Linda Arkley, was to blame for the purchase

They accused Ms Arkley of rushing through decisions on the Swan Hunter site in the dying days of her administration.

Ms Arkley denied the claim and said the process of awarding the licence was “fair and above board”.

North Tyneside Council said that work was ongoing to assess the condition of the quay to help inform the improvements needed so that the crane can be used.

A spokesman said: “The regeneration of the Swans Enterprise Zone site is a priority for us and excellent progress was made in 2016 with seven businesses moving to the Swans Centre for Innovation, completion of a quay link road and local engineering businesses using the quay for load out projects.

“We continue to work with interested businesses to discuss their requirements and options for the site.”

They added: “The crane was purchased in 2013 to enhance the facilities at the Swans yard.

“We are now well under way transforming the 17 hectares of prime Enterprise Zone land at Swans into a hub for the offshore, renewable energy and advanced engineering sectors – and once compete, it is expected to bring around 1,000 new jobs to North Tyneside and the wider region.”

The council was unable to say how much it would cost to install the crane and wouldn’t state whether it would employ any extra workers to operate it.

However, the authority said it would be done by the council.

BY