Promenade plans on hold while cheaper option is sought

The central lower promenade on Whitley Bay seafront.
The central lower promenade on Whitley Bay seafront.

Plans to regenerate a stretch of Whitley Bay seafront have been put on hold to allow cheaper proposals to be considered.

Work on the Central Lower Promenade coastal sea defence scheme have been halted.

Cabinet members at North Tyneside Council have agreed to consider an alternative design, which should result in significant savings and include some suggestions by residents.

Mayor Norma Redfearn and her cabinet have decided the existing plans were unacceptable, instructing officers to review the design and carry out a value for money test to ensure public funds are spent appropriately.

The council will now consider fresh proposals, which would include new sea defences, and help address some of the issues raised by residents.

The two-tiered structure has reached the end of its serviceable life and needs to be replaced.

The first phase of work saw meshed safety fencing put up around the site and the demolition of disused retail units in the upper tier.

A revised design and plan should be ready for consultation this autumn with work on the construction phase expected to start next Spring.

The new design will keep the Mrs Redfearn’s promise to include new like-for-like replacements of the much-loved balustrades and aims to provide more usable open space for seating and other activities instead of a grass embankment.

The Central Lower Promenade scheme is part of the council’s £36m Seafront Master Plan to regenerate the coastline between St Mary’s Island and Cullercoats Bay.

Mrs Redfearn said: “We are pleased to be in a position to move forward with this important scheme which will not only strengthen Whitley Bay’s sea defences but also add to the ongoing regeneration of the coast.

“We understand people have been frustrated about seeing this project delayed but it is important that the council is not seen as a soft touch and achieves best value for money when investing public funds.

“Considering an alternative design should not only result in significant savings but also feature suggestions from the community. We will continue to keep the public fully informed as the project progresses.”

For more on the masterplan visit http://my.northtyneside.gov.uk/category/642/coastal-regeneration