Plaza opens but repairs needed within 24 hours

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A new seafront plaza opened to a fanfare on Monday – but within 24 hours council staff were back repairing it.

Tynemouth MP Alan Campbell was joined by dignitaries from North Tyneside Council to officially open the £1.2m plaza and amphitheatre outside the Spanish City Dome.

Local musicians, singers and dancers entertained the large crowds both on the plaza and in the Dome while visitors were also given a chance to look inside the Grade-II listed building.

But on Tuesday, workmen were back on site after some of the slabs came loose.

One resident who saw the fault said: “If anyone had have been walking near where the slabs were coming loose, they could have been seriously hurt.

“And the metal spacers sticking out are very dangerous.

“After all the money that has been spent on it, it’s disgusting, especially as it has only been open a day.”

A council spokesperson said: “As with all major schemes there have been a few small snagging problems and some minor finishing work such as grouting and sealing of tiles still to do.

“This is being carried out by Capita, the council’s technical partner, who also designed and built the scheme.

“The areas affected have been temporarily fenced off, however, the new main plaza and amphitheatre are open for everyone to enjoy this Easter.”

The new plaza, connecting the Dome to the promenade and beach, features black granite seating, wooden benches and integral lighting systems.

Music legend Mark Knopfler has also given permission for the lyrics of Tunnel of Love – the 1981 Dire Straits hit which immortalised the Spanish City – to be written in the granite steps.

Mayor Norma Redfearn said: “I’m delighted that this beautiful Plaza will be open in time for the Easter holidays when the area will be busy with people enjoying our lovely seafront and all the great things it has to offer.

“It’s a great space and the perfect setting for the Spanish City and the Dome, which we are going to restore to its original splendour thanks to a £3.7m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

“When this is complete the whole area will be a magnet for visitors, bringing business into the town and creating a vibrant economy and a pride in the community.”

Six benches will be situated along the plaza, each featuring a spot lit base that names two past rides from the fairground – Figure 8 and Mystic Maze; The Social Whirl and Pleasure Wheel; Water Chute and The Bumping Bumps; River Caves and Hall of Mirth; Rainbow Pleasure Wheel and Ye Olde Mill; Frolic and Virginia Reel.

• The public realm improvement work at Spanish City is one of the shortlisted entries in the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) North East’s Robert Stephenson Awards.

It is one of the entries in the ‘under £4m category’ and the winner will be announced on May 1.




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