Search set to begin for partners for Spanish City Dome

An artist impression of how the area in front of the Dome could look.
An artist impression of how the area in front of the Dome could look.
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Work to give Whitley Bay’s iconic Spanish City Dome a new lease of life is set to take a step forward.

The green light is expected to be given by North Tyneside Council cabinet members to market the Grade II-listed building to potential occupants.

We’re working hard to secure a bright and sustainable future use for the Dome, and want to make sure that we have all options available to us

Mayor Norma Redfearn

At their meeting next week, members are being asked to confirm arrangements to guide the procurement of the site as the latest phase to deliver the £36m Seafront Master Plan.

Potential partners would need to deliver an ‘exciting new future for the Spanish City Dome, and a viable and sustainable business plan acceptable to funders’.

The report being considered by cabinet will involve a formal a tender and procurement process that will allow the council to consider proposals from firms on a range of options to facilitate the future success of the Dome.

Tenders would need to be acceptable to the Heritage Lottery Fund and also fit with the local authority’s future vision for the coast and the Dome, as detailed in its Seafront Master Plan.

Mayor Norma Redfearn said: “We’re working hard to secure a bright and sustainable future use for the Dome and want to make sure that we have all options available to us.

“This formal process that we’ll be asking cabinet to approve gives us the ability to seek and consider approaches from investors or organisations interested in running or managing the Dome in its entirety, alongside the options we already have.”

A number of businesses have already expressed an interest in taking space in the building, with the strongest interest in proposed new shop units facing the plaza and promenade; all of the proposals already received would be considered alongside any new options that may emerge.

The formal process is part of the council’s ongoing work to prepare for its Stage 2 grant application for the restoration of the Spanish City Dome.

The Stage 2 bid requires a detailed business case to demonstrate the project is sustainable in the long term, to ensure the Heritage Enterprise Lottery Fund grant is a worthwhile investment.

North Tyneside Council has already secured round one approval for a grant of £3.66m through the Heritage Lottery Fund’s new Heritage Enterprise programme.

The round two application will provide lottery investment to enable vital repairs and conservation works to be carried out to transform Spanish City into a safe, usable and inspirational commercial and leisure space.

• Elsewhere, work is set to take place next week to improve the appearance of the Dome.

Depending on weather conditions, workmen will remove the green mould on the Dome and refresh the paintwork.

It follows on from the erection of new perimeter hoardings around the site.

Ward councillor John O’Shea said: “Work on the Dome has been long overdue and this clean up work is the start of the total refurbishment of this iconic building which is planned to be completed in autumn 2016.

“The much need 100 plus car park is under construction in the derelict land to the south of the Spanish City and should be completed for early July 2015.”