Ambitious plans to regenerate an iconic borough landmark have been given a further major cash injection.
North Tyneside Council has been awarded £2m towards the proposals to bring the Spanish City Dome back into use.
The award, from the Coastal Communities Fund, means £5m has now been allocated from the fund to the project.
Officials at the council say it is a major grant to help deliver the ambitions to transform the Dome and whole seafront, as laid out in a £30m masterplan drawn up.
Mayor Norma Redfearn said: “This is wonderful news for our residents, not just in Whitley Bay, but the whole borough and further endorsement of our Whitley Bay Seafront Masterplan and the £30m that will be invested in delivering it.
“Everyone wants see the Spanish City Dome brought back to its best. The Coastal Communities funding will mean we can definitely move forward and bring the iconic Grade Two listed building back into productive use for commercial/leisure based businesses.”
Danny Alexander, chief secretary to the Treasury, said: “I created the Coastal Communities Fund because, as someone who grew up on a small island, I know how much difference targeted investment can make to people’s lives.
“Overall, hundreds of communities across the UK will benefit, creating jobs and making sure that some of our most remote and fragile communities share in the economic recovery.”
Coastal communities Minister Penny Mordaunt said: “Backing our coastal towns so they can rise up and drive forward their local economies is a key part of our long-term economic plan to secure a brighter future for Britain.
“This money will help create jobs, boost skills and open up new business opportunities, benefitting hardworking people in coastal communities across the country.
“These fantastic projects demonstrate the creativity, enterprise and passion needed to help seaside towns become year round destinations that people are proud to live and work in.”
Work is now progressing on the the plans for the Dome, which will be the focal point of the masterplan.
Mrs Redfearn added: “Our overall plans have identified the Dome as the focal point in a strategic plan that we are already getting on a delivering, including the removal of long-standing eyesore sites.
“The Highpoint Hotel is now demolished and will be the focus for development and bulldozers will move into The Avenue site next week.”
The Dome building was awarded Stage One approval for a £3.7m grant last year through the Heritage Lottery Fund’s new Heritage Enterprise programme, which addresses buildings which have previously failed to attract investment or realise their commercial potential because the cost of repair has meant that they were not commercially viable.
Subject to a successful Stage Two application, the grant will enable the vital repairs and conservation works that are needed to transform the Spanish City into a safe, usable and inspirational space, once more.
Mott MacDonald and ADP are providing all architectural, structural, mechanical and electrical engineering design services for the repair, renovation and rehabilitation of the site.
The council is also actively working with businesses interested in making the Dome their future base.
The current proposals will see up to five ground floor retail or cafe units to the front of the building facing onto the promenade, including the new Plaza area. The first floor will also feature a café/restaurant and a large leisure space with elevated sea views towards St Mary’s Lighthouse.
Community and leisure uses are also being sought in line with the current outline planning consent.
Further structural work to the Dome building will see the Grade II listed landmark brought back into full use for the first time since the late 1990s
A large new visitor car park is also to be created next to the Dome.
For further information anyone interested in the rental of space in the Dome should contact Brett Devenish or Julie Bews on (0191) 643 2142 or email firstname.lastname@example.org