Conversion of club will be Italian job

Sambuca Golf on the Whitley Bay Links.

Sambuca Golf on the Whitley Bay Links.

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PLANS to convert an angling club on Whitley Bay seafront into a restaurant have been approved.

The proposals will see the single-storey club building at the Links miniature golf club transformed into an Italian restaurant.

The plans include creating an extension to the existing building to house the angling club.

Members of North Tyneside Council’s planning committee voted in favour of the plans on Tuesday.

Coun Bill Caithness, of Monkseaton South, spoke in favour of the development, saying it would help make the coast more attractive to tourists.

“The reality is a development like this is one of the small steps that helps create business and footfall though the area,” he said.

“There are changes that happen all the time, and I see this as a great change.

“It will do nothing else but improve the facilities in Whitley Bay for the

visiting public.”

Coun Muriel Green, of Weetslade, agreed, saying: “If you take children along to pitch and putt, it would be nice to have pizza after that. It would be good for the family.”

Howdon ward councillor John Harrison added: “I think it will enhance and help the coastal strip.

“It will keep our place on the map as a tourist area.”

Coun David Ord, of the Northumberland ward, added: “The planning application would make a very slight difference to the views that are currently there.

“This is an ideal area for a restaurant.”

The council received 53 letters objecting to the plans and just two letters of support, however.

Coun Ed Hodson, of the St Mary’s ward, argued against the plans, saying that the open space provided at the Links should be protected.

“The Links is a very special place to the borough,” he said.

“I had a very large number of people contact me really horrified at the idea of changing it.

“The Links has always been interpreted in the area of the borough to be preserved for openness not for commerce and commercial development.

“If we let this go, where do we end up?

“Do we want mile upon mile of beach cafes and hotels we see abroad?

“I think this is a step in commercialism we do not want.”

Coun Lesley Spillard, of Battle Hill, was opposed too, saying: “It would be a shame to change the character of the coast.”

The restaurant chain already runs three premises in North Shields, one in Whitley Bay town centre and another in Wallsend.

It is expected that the new restaurant will seat around 42 people.