Group vows to get signatures to trigger cafe talk

Left to right: Magdalena Niewitecka; Karen Edwards; Vera Blyth; John Blyth; Anne Burgon; Kristina Knowles sign the petition in a bid to save the Boardwalk Cafe.

Left to right: Magdalena Niewitecka; Karen Edwards; Vera Blyth; John Blyth; Anne Burgon; Kristina Knowles sign the petition in a bid to save the Boardwalk Cafe.

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Campaigners have refused to give up the fight to save a seaside cafe after having a petition signed by 2,300 people rejected.

Members of the ‘Save and Revamp the Boardwalk’ had hoped their petition would trigger a debate at North Tyneside Council as they try and persuade the authority to scrap plans to demolish the cafe on Watts Slope.

But the petition was rejected by council officials as it had been signed by 800 people living outside North Tyneside, including 58 holidaymakers from overseas.

Campaigners say the love towards the cafe shows that Whitley Bay is still popular as a visitor destination and their views should be taken into consideration.

However, they have vowed to secure enough signatures to trigger a debate in the council chamber.

And they have been backed by residents who remember the original cafe that occupied the same site.

John Blyth, 85, of Monkseaton, used to play in front of the Watts Cafe as a child.

He said: “I remember Mr Watts himself sitting outside his thriving business to keep a watchful eye on the rowing boats he rented out.”

A cafe has been on the site for nearly 150 years but masterplans drawn up by the council for the northern promenade propose demolishing the cafe to improve views along the coast.

Gillian Swanson, of Save and Revamp the Boardwalk, said: “The council admits that the plans are still being prepared, so why can’t they be adapted to make room for a café on the traditional site?

“A lot of the people we speak to think there’s been some kind of a backroom deal involving the Dome.”

Fellow campaigner Karen Edwards, of Rockcliffe, said: “We’re being very careful to check where people live now.

“Even a place as close as Seaton Sluice doesn’t count. It doesn’t seem fair that visitors don’t have a say, when traders in the town depend on them for a lot of their business.”

Pamela Hood, of Whitley Lodge, added: “People from neighbouring council areas who have held functions at the Boardwalk or are regular patrons can’t understand why they’re being excluded.”

A spokesperson for North Tyneside Council said: “In accordance with the council’s constitution, if a petition is to be discussed at a meeting of all council members, it must contain 2,000 or more signatures of people living, working or studying in North Tyneside.

“No petition in relation to the Boardwalk Café has received 2,000 eligible signatures.”