In August, my husband and I decided to drive to South Shields and have a walk along the prom.
Like many people who live ‘on the north side of the river’, South Shields has not been a place I have visited. It always seemed too near for a day out and too far to bother going for a couple of hours.
We went on the recommendation of a friend and were totally surprised and delighted by what we saw.
Granted, it was a lovely, warm day, but there were people everywhere, enjoying the weather and amenities.
We walked along the lower promenade, which was beautifully appointed, with lots of seats. We then walked through the amusement park and into Marine Park South, with its boating lake and tiny railway running around the lake, with loads of people aboard.
The whole area, park and seafront, was ablaze with summer bedding plants, and being a lifelong resident of Whitley Bay, I was struck by the similarities of how Whitley Bay used to be when I was a child in the 1950s and 60s.
Maybe it would be a good idea for our elected mayor and her band of councillors to make the trip to South Shields to see just how a seaside town should and could look.
It would be great to be able to say with pride that you live in Whitley Bay, instead of always having to follow with an apology to those people who used to visit when the town was worth visiting.
On coming back home we drove along our seafront and tried to see the coast from a visitor’s point of view.
There are hoardings right along the seafront opposite The Royal Hotel, which means pedestrians vie for space with cyclists on a very narrow footpath. The Dome is a joke, surrounded by broken fencing, and the dome itself a disgusting green mouldy colour.
When you get towards the lighthouse on the Links there is the huge, ugly compound for all the plant and equipment for the ‘improvements’ to the lower promenade. It is impossible to even get on to the lower promenade until you reach the Rendezvous Café.
All this upheaval and mess has been going on for years and years.
What a comparison.
Isn’t it about time all this was finally sorted out and then we, too, could perhaps be able to say with pride “yes, I live in Whitley Bay”?
Can someone on North Tyneside Council let us know when, if ever, all this building work will come to an end and we can start to enjoy living here once again? Unfortunately, I very much doubt if it will be in my lifetime.
Mrs C A Wade