Work is going to plan on lower promenade

The promenade in Whitley Bay.'Picture by Jane Coltman

The promenade in Whitley Bay.'Picture by Jane Coltman

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A multi-million pound scheme to safeguard and strengthen Whitley Bay’s sea defences is progressing to plan, say officials.

The £3.35m project to reconstruct the existing Central Lower Promenade is part of North Tyneside Council’s Seafront Masterplan.

The reconstruction of the lower promenade also provides an opportunity to transform the upper promenade and we’ll be talking to residents over the coming months to gather their views about how this could look

Mayor Norma Redfearn

The work will see the removal of parts of the lower promenade, including disused retail units, and creating a new landscaped bank and concrete sea wall.

It will also include the removal of the concrete balustrade railings that sit on the roof section of the retail units, and work got underway this week to remove the structures.

Mayor Norma Redfearn said: “Central Lower Promenade is an essential part of Whitley Bay’s coastal defences and this £3.35m project will contribute to the regeneration of the seafront.

“I have spoken to a lot of people about the balustrades on Central Prom and I have listened to lots of views. I want to make it very clear that, although we can’t retain the existing concrete balustrades, we will replace them with similar like-for-like balustrades.

“Once this important work is done, there will be around one third of the lower promenade left in place, and we have already starting talking to residents about how this area could be used.

“Winter storms and tide surges do affect this location, but it could be lit or host small, temporary commercial units.

“The reconstruction of the lower promenade also provides an opportunity to transform the upper promenade and we’ll be talking to residents over the coming months to gather their views about how this could look.”

The scheme will take place in two phases and is scheduled to be complete by winter 2016.

The first phase of work, which will run until November 2015, will see the demolition of the retail units and preliminary works to the sea wall structure.

It has been necessary to start work now to make sure the first phase is complete by November, when activity will need to stop because of Marine Management Organisation (MMO) restrictions to protect migrating birds that come to the area to nest for the winter season.

The Central Lower Promenade project is being delivered by Capita, who are North Tyneside Council’s technical services partner.

Around 300 metres of meshed safety fencing will be placed along the site to protect the public; mesh fencing has been used so that residents and visitors can still enjoy sea views from the promenade.

Pedestrians will also still be able to walk along the promenade in this area, although the footpath will be narrower than usual, and beach users will still be able to access the shoreline area next to Central Lower Promenade until late September.