Anyone who’s glanced at the News Guardian in recent months would be forgiven for thinking that the residents of Whitley Bay are all in a permanent state of apoplexy and foaming at the mouth whilst walking round the town.
There is a very vocal group determined to make sure that all and sundry are aware of how run down and derelict the town is, whilst at the same time doing everything in their power to halt any step towards regeneration.
Please do not presume that this group speak for all or even a majority of local residents.
Many residents have a great deal of pride in our town – we are immensely proud of the community spirit, the positivity and hard work that produced the fantastic Whitley Bay Carnival, which saw hundreds of people parade through the streets and turn out on the plaza.
We have pride in our Blue Flag Award beach and are pleased that the council is trying to improve the appearance of the surrounding area – many of us actually don’t care that the Boardwalk was demolished. Some actually found the site of the café a hindrance to accessing the prom, especially those in wheelchairs, pushing buggies, using mobility scooters or riding bikes.
We consider ourselves lucky to have a theatre which attracts international acts and comedians as well as showcasing local theatre groups and schoolchildren.
We are proud that we’re able to make a choice between several excellent schools for our children, we’re proud of our library, we’re proud of our independent high street, our independently run community cinema, our fantastic playground and water park, our leisure pool and above all, the sense of community.
Please, let’s stop focusing on the negatives – no town is perfect – Whitley Bay has a lot going for it. Continue to denigrate our town and soon enough people will start to believe it. Once that happens and visitors stop coming, then we are in trouble.