Ideas to improve town given a boost

An artist's impression of how Whitley Road/South Parade could look with a few improvements.
An artist's impression of how Whitley Road/South Parade could look with a few improvements.

Plans to make a town centre more vibrant are being considered by council officials.

Residents and businesses in Whitley Bay have been having their say on proposals to improve the town, which has captured the attention of North Tyneside Council.

The Whitley Bay Big Local partnership sought feedback on its draft ideas, which have been shared with the authority.

From the 150 people who viewed the plans, 84 per cent supported the ideas in principle while 25 per cent pledged their time as volunteers to help some suggestions come to fruition.

There was overwhelming support for the creation of a temporary community garden in front of the site of the former Avenue pub; the introduction of street furniture and the planting of trees within the town centre to create greener spaces.

Sue Miller, chairperson of the Whitley Bay Big Local partnership, said: “We are delighted with the support from local people and North Tyneside Council which has now taken copies of the plans and is looking at how they can be embedded in to its own activity.

“Some of the ideas presented, such as the seafront community garden, look set to develop quite quickly as we have an army of volunteers ready to give up their time and the local authority is looking at ways in which it can lend its support.

“I think the town has a real reason to feel positive about what lies ahead.”

Mayor Norma Redfearn said: “It was really interesting to see the detailed vision that the Whitley Bay Big Local partnership has put forward for the town, and wonderful to learn that so many people are keen to volunteer their time to support the town’s future development.”

“North Tyneside Council is in the process of developing an ambitious Masterplan for the Whitley Bay area and we’ll be sharing this with people and asking them for their thoughts on it in the coming months. We are looking forward to working closely with the Big Local partnership as part of that.”

Whitley Bay Big Local is a ten-year Big Lottery funded community led initiative for all who live and work in the area to get together and make small changes that could have a big impact on the town.

The plans have been designed in consultation with those living and working in the seaside town to present an idea of how Whitley Bay could look, feel and behave by incorporating a few changes.

Sue added: “Whitley Bay is fortunate in having a number of active community and volunteer groups as well as residents and business that want to make a positive difference in the town.

“We are keen that anyone connected to the town is encouraged to have their say on what Whitley Bay could become and look at how they too could become involved, even in small ways, to make some of these fantastic ideas happen.”

The draft plans also have the backing and support of a number of highly regarded official bodies, such as the Royal Horticultural Society, the Permaculture Association, the charity Living Streets and have been shared with Northumbria Police, Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Authority, and others.