Centre needs investment to match loyalty of the retailers

RESIDENTS around the Whitley Lodge area read with interest the proposed plans by North Tyneside Council to improve the popular Whitley Lodge Shopping Centre (News Guardian, February 10).

However, as many of us know this centre is privately owned and we wish the council well in contacting and influencing the owners/landlords of the units, which are all now occupied, to improve the fabric of the popular and much needed shopping precinct.

Tenants are anxious that behind the scene repairs, not helped by the bad weather we had, are undertaken by the owners.

For example, visually the facia boards and ceiling tiles which surround the centre all need attention, together with the red low brick retaining walls which are cracked.

The council do keep the seasonal flower beds looking smart but I believe it does not have any other responsibility for this privately owned shopping centre.

It is an essential shopping area with a good mix of shops and leisure outlets and above all, it is very popular and the owners need to visit their investment and see for themselves the loyalty of the long standing tenants, their commitment to the community and match it with a centre regeneration.

We are fortunate in Whitley Bay that the town centre is starting to flourish again with a lower percentage of ‘shops to let’.

New businesses are starting up almost monthly and the owners of Whitley Lodge Shopping Centre have a full rental book at present, something in these difficult financial times that they should be proud of.

It has been good to see the support the council has been giving the borough’s larger centres, and it is pleasing that encouragement is being given to the smaller shopping areas.

All these businesses contribute to prosperity of North Tyneside which is such a good place to live in.

HEATHER CARR

Whitley Bay