Businesses back plans for revamp of Dome

TRADERS have backed initial proposals to transform Whitley Bay’s Spanish City despite having some minor reservations.

Business owners say the town cannot afford to stand still and reject yet another set of proposals to regenerate the seafront as any such delay could have a major impact on their livelihoods.

The town centre has been boosted in recent months by several new shops opening, and traders feel that feelgood factor would be enhanced by the changes proposed for the Spanish City Dome site.

Discussions have already taken place between North Tyneside Council’s preferred developer, Robertson North East, and Whitley Bay Chamber of Trade.

And at the chamber’s latest meeting, members gave their backing to the plans ahead of further talks with Robertson.

Chamber chairman Karen Goldfinch said: “The developers are listening to the residents.

“We need to decide if we are in support of the plans.

“It would be nice to think that if the chamber supports the plans, then it won’t go to an appeal, such as the situation with the joint service centre.”

David Barbour, of lettings agency Martin & Co, said: “I think the chamber should support it. We’ve got to say yes. If we say no, we’ll be put back ten years.

“I don’t know if there is a need for a hotel, but it’s up to Robertson to put its voice forward.”

Andrew Webb, of the Seafront Apartments, added: “There’s a fine balance between the Dome being used for residents of Whitley Bay and an attraction to bring people in.

“I feel it’s got more of an attraction to bring people in, but there is a lot for local residents as well.”

The plans put forward include transforming the Dome for community use and creating a 1950s-themed diner, exhibition space and an indoor skate park and climbing wall.

Also planned for the site is a four-star hotel, assisted-care living accommodation and apartments.