Work starts on new 68-bed seafront hotel

Chris Price, contracts manager for Robertson Construction North East; Martin Westgate, director for Robertson Construction England; Patrick Melia, council chief executive; and Mayor Norma Redfearn. Picture by Martin Avery Photography.

Chris Price, contracts manager for Robertson Construction North East; Martin Westgate, director for Robertson Construction England; Patrick Melia, council chief executive; and Mayor Norma Redfearn. Picture by Martin Avery Photography.

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Work has begun to build a new seafront hotel in Whitley Bay.

The new Premier Inn hotel is part of the revamp of the seafront next to the Spanish City Dome.

Planning approval for the £4.5m hotel, which features a restaurant, bar and car park, was approved in February with the contract awarded to Robertson Construction England.

Work is expected to be complete by June 2017.

Once complete, the new three-storey, 68 bedroom hotel is expected to create 69 full and part time jobs.

Mayor Norma Redfearn said: “Seeing the work start on building the new Premier Inn hotel is really exciting and marks another step forward in our multi-million pound plans to breathe new life into the coast at Whitley Bay.

“This is a huge step forward and follows the news of our successful funding bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund to restore the Spanish City Dome and, more recently, learning that we have gained initial support from HLF to restore and safeguard St Mary’s Lighthouse.

“The combination of this new hotel and our plans for the dome will not only mean many more visitors and businesses will be attracted to the town and our coastline but it will also increase confidence in the borough among businesses as somewhere they can flourish.”

Garry Hope, regional managing director of Robertson North East England, said: “We were awarded the job by our sister company, Robertson Property who have a long established relationship with Premier Inn.

“This is a great example of our ability to recruit specialist teams under the Robertson umbrella. It’s a more efficient experience for us, the build team and of course the client, who will deal with only one team.”

Premier Inn worked alongside conservation officers from the council and Tyne and Wear Joint Conservation Team to ensure a modern but appropriate architectural solution to sit alongside the Grade II listed dome.

Designed by Ayrshire-based architects LMA, the Premier Inn will also house a 190-cover Beefeater restaurant.

In addition to the hotel, Robertson was also recently given the go ahead to restore the Spanish City Dome itself to bring it back it its former glory.

Loggias, which were removed in the early 1970s, will be rebuilt in a similar style to their original design informed by historic photos. Tall decorative tops and cupolas will be rebuilt to the 1910 design, again by using historical images and drawings as reference.

Shopfronts, doors and windows will be reinstated in keeping with the traditional look of the Edwardian Grade II listed building by using joinery details from the few salvaged doors and windows along with historical photos.

And the rotunda area will be returned to its original 1910 design by removing the in-filled first floor and reinstating the central columns, providing double height space once again and bringing back the balcony and balustrading.

Patrick Melia, chief executive at North Tyneside Council, said: “As a council we are committed to revitalising the coastline at Whitley Bay, ensuring it is somewhere people want to live, work and visit, and the new Premier Inn is a key part of achieving that so it is pleasing to see building work get underway and we look forward to its completion.”