Facelift lined up for town

WHITLEY Bay town centre could be in line for a facelift.

Plans are afoot to replace the 7ft-high planters in Whitley Road with something better suited to their location.

John Rogan, an environmental officer at North Tyneside Council, told Whitley Bay Chamber of Trade’s meeting last week that the authority was applying for money to improve the coastal area.

He said: “I want to make improvements to the town centre.

“I don’t like the 7ft planters outside the Bedroom pub. I’m hoping to move them and am looking to bring something more suitable to the area. The planters are too big for the town centre and haven’t been planted properly.

“I’m looking for something more suitable – smaller planters with a bit of colour that are not black – but it all comes down to money.”

Mr Rogan added that although plants had been ordered for this year, he was planning to buy species better able to cope with the sea air for 2012.

Town centre manager John Fleet also cited the relatively low number of empty units in Whitley Bay as grounds for optimism.

He told members that despite a few shops closing in recent weeks, the number of unoccupied properties was below the national average.

Mr Fleet said: “The level of vacancies is balancing out, which is what I’m quite encouraged by.

“Hopefully, it’ll continue to get better.

“Whitley Bay is showing a nine per cent vacancy rate, which is better than it was 18 months ago, when it was 15 per cent.”

The next chamber of trade meeting takes place on Monday, March 21, at 6pm.