AMBITIOUS plans have been unveiled aimed at giving the iconic Dome a new lease of life while bringing families back to the coast.
Bosses at Robertson, the preferred developer chosen for the redevelopment of the Spanish City site in Whitley Bay, are excited at the £23m proposals which they have drawn up.
And residents are currently being given the chance to hear first hand what is proposed for the building and surrounding area, with two public meetings held today (Thursday) at 4.30pm and 6.30pm at the Playhouse Whitley Bay.
Among the plans are to give the 100-year-old Dome a new lease of life, with North Tyneside YMCA earmarked at running a range of facilities in the building.
Andy McLeod, managing director of Robertson, said they plan to take out the first floor in the Dome, returning it back to its original layout, while also demolishing two ‘add-on’ extensions.
Proposals for the Dome include a 1950s themed diner, art cafe and shop, gallery, performing arts area and a multi-use space which could be used as an indoor skate park, dance floor, activity centre, cinema or more.
And on the roof of either ‘wing’ of the Dome are plans to create a winter garden with cafe, allowing people to sit and enjoy the views over the coastline to St Mary’s Island.
But Mr McLeod said all proposals could be changed, or more features added, depending on the feedback from residents.
He added: “We believe the true success of the Dome is to engage with the community.
“We think what we’ve put forward is a good start, we just want to hear everybody’s opinion on this.
“We’re ready to put the heart back into Whitley Bay.”
Robertson’s plans also include a 50-bedroom four-star “niche” hotel, which will wrap around the back of the Dome; an apartment block with 20 apartments; a residential/assisted living care home; and outdoor performance areas.
Mr McLeod added: “The development of the Dome is not dependant on the other projects, it can stand on its own.”
Construction of the scheme will cost £23m, with Mr McLeod saying 90 per cent of the work will be carried out by local firms, creating 500 construction jobs.
And they say once completed, more than 100 jobs will be created, bringing in an estimated 150,000 visitors a year and more than £2.2m to the town’s economy.
Mayor Linda Arkley is delighted with the proposals, saying: “The residents in Whitley Bay and North Tyneside have been asking for so long for something like this.”
Lisa Mitchell, vice-chairman of Whitley Bay Chamber of Trade, added: “I think this is fantastic. I like the development within the Dome, it’s very community and family based.”
• Residents who attend the public meetings today (Thursday) can submit their views by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
Click on the link ‘Spanish City Dome Proposals’ to the top right under ‘Multimedia Links’ to see pictures of the plans