Hundreds have their say on £36m masterplan for coast

An artist's impression of how part of Central Lower Promenade could be used once work to reshape it has been completed.

An artist's impression of how part of Central Lower Promenade could be used once work to reshape it has been completed.

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Hundreds of people viewed the latest major plans for Whitley Bay seafront.

North Tyneside Council held a two-day exhibition at Whitley Bay Customer First Centre to seek views on their £36m masterplan for the seafront.

For me, this will give the residents of North Tyneside something that they can be proud of and come and use with their families

Mayor Norma Redfearn

Among the proposals is a £2.5m scheme to improve St Mary’s Lighthouse and Island.

There are also plans for day and overnight stay beach huts, beach showers, new seating, outdoor gym equipment, restoration of Grant’s Clock on Central Promenade, and a ‘land train’ from the lighthouse to Tynemouth.

Officers have also drawn up plans to develop the brick shelters on the Northern Promenade into shop units or demolish them and replace them with pods or kiosks.

And work on the second phase of developments on Watts Slope and the entrance to the Northern Promenade, where the former Boardwalk Cafe stood, were also highlighted.

The council also stated that if residents wanted to see balustrades on the promenade, then new ones could be erected when the redevelopment of the Central Lower Promenade was completed.

Residents have hit out at the plans to remove the current structures, in place since the 1920s, with thousands signing petitions.

Mayor Norma Redfearn said the balustrades would be removed as they were past their best as the concrete had started to crumble and break while the metal rods inside were rusting.

Mrs Redfearn said: “We’ve looked to see if it is possible to save the balustrades but engineers have told me they cannot be saved.

“We want a coastline of quality. If the public want balustrades stretching all along the seafront then that is what we will consider.”

Council chief executive Patrick Melia said: “We are demonstrating we’re trying to listen.

“This Masterplan should have a dramatic impact on the economy.

“People who stay will come for longer and we will attract more visitors and families. That will create more businesses and jobs, making the town more vibrant.”

Mrs Redfearn added: “Residents, visitors and businesses have told us that they want us to deliver a seafront that is an attractive, vibrant and appealing destination, all year round – and that is exactly what this Master Plan is working towards.

“For me, this will give the residents of North Tyneside something that they can be proud of and come and use with their families.”