Controversial play area up and running - Video

IT might not be popular with some of its neighbours, but a new seafront play area in Cullercoats is proving a big hit with youngsters.

Children at Cullercoats Primary School got the chance to try out the new £175,000 play area, built to the north of the sunken gardens on the headland, ahead of its formal opening and gave it a unanimous thumbs-up.

Their enthusiasm was a far cry from the opposition plans for the site sparked among residents of nearby Beverley Terrace after they were unveiled by North Tyneside Council.

Disgruntled neighbours of the park branded it an unnecessary eyesore and claimed it would attract drunken youths at nights.

The controversial play area, part of a coastal regeneration scheme under way in the village, was identified by some residents as their top priority on a wishlist of improvements.

It features a range of equipment for children of all ages, much of it suggested by the youngsters set to make use of it.

The Year 5 pupils who road-tested the site also took part in the consultation, where more places to play was a popular suggestion.

Daniel Hornby, one of the Year 5 pupils given a sneak preview of the play area, said: “The park is amazing. It’s actually quite fun getting dizzy on the spinning wheel. I’ll definitely come back.”

Fellow pupil Harriet Taylor added: “I’m so happy we got to try the park out first.

“It’s really exciting that we got to choose what to put in the park.

“I loved having the chance to decide how we could make Cullercoats better.

“The park is really close to where I live and to the beach. I’m going to go to the beach the come and play in the park.”

Borough mayor Linda Arkley said: “Residents told us that it was very important for the family destination of Cullercoats Bay to have a suitable play site, and I’m delighted that local children and visitors can now enjoy this fantastic new facility.

“It has been carefully designed to fit well with its picturesque surroundings.”

Work is under way to improve pedestrian safety near the site, including installing a puffin crossing and a pedestrian refuge crossing island.

An additional 77 spaces are also being provided at the nearby Beaconsfield car park.