£1m revamp for seafront viaduct plagued by yobs

Rockcliffe Viaduct, located at the end of the southern promenade in Whitley Bay-�1m remedial work by North Tyneside Council.
Rockcliffe Viaduct, located at the end of the southern promenade in Whitley Bay-�1m remedial work by North Tyneside Council.

A STRETCH of coastline plagued by vandalism and other anti-social behaviour is to be given a £1m facelift.

Bosses at North Tyneside Council hope the revamp will breathe new life into a neglected part of Whitley Bay’s seafront and deter undesirable elements from hanging around there.

Work is due to start next month on Rockcliffe Viaduct, built to support the main seafront footpath at the end of the southern promenade.

It has been beset by anti-social behaviour and graffiti over recent years and is also, according to some residents, used as a drugs den.

Inspector Jim Gray, pictured, of Whitley Bay’s neighbourhood policing team, said: “We were aware of concerns over a few minor issues with disorder in the area. However, we quickly took action against these and focused police patrols in the area.

“We’re not aware of any recent concerns or reports of disorder.”

He added: “We welcome any investment in the area that makes it an even better place for people to enjoy.”

The 80-year-old viaduct is the main focus of remedial work being undertaken along the coast as it is in need of maintenance, as well as being a magnet for yobs and vandals.

Among the planned improvements are repairs to the large arched structure to reduce the need for future maintenance.

Other improvements lined up include filling in the two arches with cement covering with stone walling, with the walls being set back so the structure will retain its arched appearance.

Steps that connect the two sides of the viaduct will also be removed as they are now unsafe and unsightly.

Borough mayor Linda Arkley said: “This is an important coastal structure, and I am delighted that we are able to carry out a scheme that will improve the safety and appearance of the viaduct.

“Regenerating our coastline is one of my top priorities, and I hope that by making these improvements, families will get further enjoyment from the area.

“Such a major scheme will inevitably lead to some disruption, but we will ensure that this will be kept to a minimum.

“I would like to thank people in advance for their patience.”

The council has appointed Cramlington contractor Lumsden & Carroll to undertake the project.

Improvements to the viaduct will start in July and run until September, and drivers are being warned to expect delays.

At times, temporary traffic lights will be put in place for safety reasons on the road along the promenade.