Next step for major project

The area around Empress Gardens, Whitley Bay, to be closed is marked in red.
The area around Empress Gardens, Whitley Bay, to be closed is marked in red.

Work to revive the Spanish City in Whitley Bay has reached another milestone as major improvements outside the building are now under way.

Empress Gardens, the area between the iconic venue and the Cenotaph on the Links, is being refurbished and the public realm is being enhanced.

The landscaping work, which is being carried out by Robertson Construction, began on Monday and is due to continue for the duration of the restoration project.

Attractive footpaths will be created to make the area more accessible, new street furniture – including seating and shelters – will be installed and the area will feature new garden spaces with planters, grass and flowerbeds.

North Tyneside Council, in partnership with Robertson Construction and architecture firm ADP, is carrying out a £10million restoration of the Spanish City building.

An area will be created for the land train to stop and the improvements will complement the work being carried out at Central Lower Promenade and on the Northern Promenade.

Members of the public are advised that the area around Empress Gardens will be closed to allow the work to be carried out.

It will not be possible to access the gardens themselves, but the surrounding paths will remain open, as will the area in front of the Premier Inn, the ramp and steps at Watt’s Road, which lead onto the Northern Promenade, and the Links and toilets.

The Di Meo ice cream kiosk will also remain open as normal.

Elected Mayor Norma Redfearn said: “I am delighted that we have reached another milestone in the project. The landscaping work will look absolutely fantastic and really liven up the area.

“I know the gardens have a lot of sentimental value. People like to sit in the area and take in the views and our designs are sympathetic to this – they include more seating than there is currently and will provide shelter from the elements.”

Following completion of works, the venue will be run by Kymel Trading Ltd as a collection of leisure facilities, including a fine dining seafood restaurant and champagne and oyster bar with floor-to-ceiling windows.

There will be event space for weddings, corporate events and parties, as well as traditional tearooms, a family-friendly fish and chip restaurant and takeaway and an ice-cream parlour.

A range of public events will also be held, such as fairs, cinema screenings, tea dances and seasonal events.

The restoration is part of the council’s Seafront Master Plan to regenerate the coastline between St Mary’s Lighthouse and Cullercoats Bay.