Tourism Minister David Evennett met Alan Campbell MP in his Tynemouth constituency today to see how investment in the area will help boost tourism and support the local economy.
Mr Evennett visited The Old Low Light in North Shields - the oldest building on the Fish Quay - which was saved after a campaign by local people secured vital funding, including £750,000 from the Coastal Communities Fund. It has now been turned into a heritage centre and community space, and acts as a model for how old listed buildings can be brought back to benefit the local community.
The Minister was also told about plans to increase tourism to the area helped by the regeneration of Spanish City Dome. It is supported by a £2.5million grant from the Coastal Communities Fund and a £3.47million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The combination of the restored, grade II-listed Spanish City Dome and a new hotel and restaurant is expected to substantially increase the number of visitors to Whitley Bay’s seafront.
Mr Evennett said: "Britain has a proud seaside tradition and these exciting regeneration plans are a fantastic example of how we are supporting coastal towns across the country. The Coastal Communities Fund is having a really positive impact on the regeneration of Whitley Bay that will benefit the whole community. Projects such as this are not just about bucket and spades and ice cream – they are providing a much broader tourism offer where art, culture and local businesses can all benefit.
"I was also delighted to see how the works on The Old Low Light in North Shields have brought the building back into use. It is a fantastic example of how our unique historic buildings can be saved and used to benefit their local communities."
Mr Campbell added: "I was delighted when David Evennett accepted my invitation to visit Tynemouth Constituency to see at first hand the progress we're making in regeneration.
"The Minister and I agree that seaside and coastal towns have had to reinvent themselves and the offer they make as tourist destinations. We were able to discuss the important role Government has to play in bringing together the financial resources with the great community and entrepreneurial spirit we have here."