Delay removing coastal eyesores

The Highpoint Hotel at Whitley Bay.'REF 1111140368
The Highpoint Hotel at Whitley Bay.'REF 1111140368

Work to demolish run-down properties has been delayed as council officials hope to achieve a better result.

Demolition on the former High Point Hotel, in Whitley Bay, had begun earlier this year as part of the regeneration plans for the seafront.

But in recent weeks, local residents have questioned what is going on as work has stopped while not yet started on the other two properties purchased by North Tyneside Council – the former Avenue Public House including 1 Brook Street Gardens and the former Whisky Bends pub.

Now, council officials have moved to reassure residents that the demolition is on track – and an opportunity to provide a better result has arisen.

A letter issued to residents in the area says: ‘Demolition work at the High Point Hotel site has now reached a stage where only a small part of the original hotel structure remains standing.

‘This is the part of the building that is linked to the adjoining property at 1 Eastcliffe, which is within private ownership.

‘The original intention had been to demolish the High Point Hotel and build a new gable wall on 1 Eastcliffe.

“However, the council is currently in negotiation with the owner of this property regarding a potential purchase. If these negotiations are successful, then the intention will be to clear the whole site for residential redevelopment.

“In these circumstances, demolition activity has stopped temporarily on site to allow for the negotiations to be concluded. The remaining part of the hotel structure must stay standing for the time being in order to protect the structural integrity of 1 Eastcliffe.”

Mayor Norma Redfearn said: “I understand that residents – just like me – are very keen to see work progressing at the seafront.

“I can reassure them that everything is on track and I have every confidence that the final proposals for the site, which will be included in the Masterplan we put on display in December, will make a massive difference.

“The negotiations on the adjacent properties are into the final phase. We are now awaiting the disconnection of utilities at 1 and 2 Eastcliffe and the council is doing all it can to push matters forward with the utility companies.”

The other prominent derelict site on the seafront – the land once occupied by the Alletsa Ballroom and Sylvester’s nightclub – is in private ownership and was given planning approval for a development of nine town houses and five apartments.