Early present to help regenerate the iconic Dome

Heritage lottery money comes to the  Dome at Whitley Bay (left to right) Mayor Norma Redfearn and Ivor Crowther-Head of Heritage Lottery Fund-North East.'REF 2611135429
Heritage lottery money comes to the Dome at Whitley Bay (left to right) Mayor Norma Redfearn and Ivor Crowther-Head of Heritage Lottery Fund-North East.'REF 2611135429
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Funding has been secured to breathe new life into one of the borough’s iconic buildings.

Mayor Norma Redfearn says the news that the Heritage Lottery Fund is to give a £3.7m grant towards the restoration of the Spanish City Dome is an early Christmas present for North Tyneside and the region.

The Grade-II listed building, built in 1910, has stood empty since 2000 and fallen into a state of disrepair.

But now North Tyneside Council is to receive £185,000 to put together a business plan featuring detailed drawings on how they will restore the Dome, to present to the Heritage Lottery next September.

And should those plans be approved, then the council will receive the final £3.5m to carry out the work.

The money will be used on vital repairs to return the building to a good state of repair, and council chief executive Patrick Melia says private companies are already interested in getting on board with the overall project.

Mrs Redfearn said: “This is fantastic news, not just for Whitley Bay but for the borough and the region as a whole.

“We want the Dome site to once again be the symbol of a successful seaside, restoring pride and attracting more visitors and investment.

“We will put every effort in to getting this done. I’d like to see it finished in three years.

“This funding gives the stamp that the Dome is worth saving. What a Christmas present for everyone in the borough and further afield.

“The support we had from the community was the key extra push we needed to get this bid approved.”

A bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund was rejected in April but Ivor Crowther, head of HLF north east, believes the public support behind the council’s latest bid swung it.

He said: “The reason behind it being approved this time was the consultation and it was felt it was a joint application from North Tyneside Council and the community in Whitley Bay and north east.

“It helped swing the bid a lot, there was genuine support for the building.”

The grant was awarded through the HLF’s new Heritage Enterprise Programme.

It addresses ‘market failure’ – where buildings have previously failed to attract investment or realise their commercial potential because the cost of repair has meant that they were not commercially viable.

Mr Melia said: “We see the Spanish City and Dome as an important jewel in the crown of our coastline.

“We know the Dome has a special place in the hearts and minds of people in the north east and beyond.”

Whitley Bay ward councillor Sandra Graham added: “I hope this funding will bring the leverage in to attract other companies on board.”