Councillors should be rejecting this application

SO finally we see the reason Sambuca took on the lease of Whitley Bay’s miniature golf course.

To a meeting of concerned residents, it stated its intention was to enhance the facility and create a ‘golf youth academy’.

Now it has submitted an application to the council to change the use of the facility from D2 use, namely leisure use area for indoor and outdoor sports and recreations, to A3 use, namely restaurants and cafes for the sale of food and drink for consumption on the premises – restaurants, snack bars and cafes.

Let’s not forget when it took on this ten-year lease from the council, it took it on as the miniature golf course, not as a miniature golf course with a view to changing its use to a restaurant.

So Sambuca has managed to secure a prime seafront/sea view property and now hope to change its use from a recreation facility to a restaurant, with associated enlargement of the current golf hut to accommodate a large restaurant and the expansion of the car park.

Indeed an employee of the council’s engineering services department has already been quoted as saying it is ‘desirable to explore the possibility of expanding the car park’.

Why, for goodness sake, how many cars are they expecting at any one time?

I for one would be absolutely appalled if this were allowed to go ahead.

Only recently we saw the mayor on the front page of the News Guardian heralding a possible investment to improve recreational and visitor attractions yet here we are faced with the possible pillage of one of our most popular and long standing facilities.

At a time when Whitley Bay is struggling to attract new visitors, I cannot believe that the council would allow such an application to succeed.

What we need in Whitley Bay and along the coastal belt is a commitment to enhance and expand upon the current visitor facilities/attractions in the hope and expectation that better facilities will ultimately attract more visitors and with this an increase in spending that will benefit many rather than if this application were to be approved and benefit a few.

We look to the council as defenders of our splendid coastline and whilst the miniature golf course may still be there at present, it appears to me that this is not the main reason this organisation took over the lease of this facility and is certainly not a priority.

On behalf of the many of us who have enjoyed a game of pitch and putt, and the future visitors, I urge councillors to think long and hard out their decision.