New prom plan could save £1m

An artist's impression of how the Central Lower Promenade in Whitley Bay could look.
An artist's impression of how the Central Lower Promenade in Whitley Bay could look.

Alternative designs for plans for the Central Lower Promenade in Whitley Bay could save more than £1million.

North Tyneside Council has drawn up an alternative design for the coastal sea defence scheme, which should result in the savings and include suggestions from the community.

The new proposals will involve strengthening and refurbishing the existing sea wall.

The lower walkway, which included the former retail units, will become an open space with new seating, providing a great opportunity for leisure activities and events.

The wide upper footway will be refurbished and enhanced while the design will also include Mayor Norma Redfearn’s commitment to replacing the balustrades with like-for-like replacements. All of this work will complement the improvements being made to the Northern Promenade.

Residents will be able to look at the designs in greater detail at two events which will be held at Whitley Bay Customer First Centre on Thursday, October 20, from 3pm to 7.30pm, and Friday, October 21, from 10.30am to 4pm.

Mayor Norma Redfearn said: “I am delighted that we are now well placed to move forward with this vital scheme, which will enhance sea defences and give the area a much-needed new and improved appearance.

“We believe that this new design will not only save a significant amount of public money but also address some of the issues people had with the first design – ultimately this revised scheme will produce a much better end product.

“We are also really keen to hear what residents think so I would encourage people to come along to the engagement events and find out more and leave your feedback.”

The original plan, which involved renewing the sea wall and replacing the rest of the structure with a landscaped embankment, and proposed price was deemed unacceptable.

The Mayor instructed officers to review the design and carry out a value for money test to ensure public funds were spent appropriately.

Construction on the new scheme is expected to begin in spring 2017 and work is likely to finish around six months later.

The project, which is subject to planning approval, will be carried out in partnership with Hartlepool Borough Council, which has completed similar coastal promenade schemes to a high standard.

The structure, which acts as a vital sea defence, is nearly 100 years old and is reaching the end of its serviceable life so needs to be replaced.

The Central Lower Promenade scheme is part of the council’s £36million Seafront Master Plan to regenerate the coastline between St Mary’s Island and Cullercoats Bay, which includes a major renovation of the Spanish City to restore it to its former glory.

Find out more at http://my.northtyneside.gov.uk/category/642/coastal-regeneration