MAJOR plans to transform Whitley Bay seafront have moved a step closer after outline plans were submitted.
Preferred developer Robertson has put forward an application to North Tyneside Council outlining its plans for the former Spanish City site – which now includes the former Avenue pub situated nearby.
Earmarked for the site are improvements to the landmark Dome, a hotel, housing and landscape improvements.
However, potential partner YMCA North Tyneside, which was keen to create a community hub within the Dome, has withdrawn interest due to the current financial situation.
Plans were first mooted last June and have since been adjusted by Robertson following discussions.
Andy McLeod, managing director for Robertson in the north of England, said: “This is the first step of the planning process.
“Right from the start we’ve been sharing our ideas with the community and we’ve been able to take pro-active comments on board.
“The submission of our outline planning application doesn’t signal the end of our engagement with the public, but the start of formal consultation with the local authority.”
Mayor Linda Arkley added: “I’m delighted that the Robertson proposals have reached this important stage.
“It demonstrates the continued progress of a project that’s important for the regeneration of not just Whitley Bay but the whole coastal zone, into which I’m investing £1m per year over the next three years.
“I’m sure that many local residents will welcome the fact that the site of the former Avenue pub forms part of the plans.”
Robertson is proposing a Family Activity Centre in the Dome featuring indoor climbing walls, skateboarding, soft play facilities, cinema, surfing and foot outlets, which YMCA North Tyneside had been keen to manage.
Dean Titterton, chief executive of YMCA North Tyneside, said: “We were always excited by this project and remain excited by this potential development.
“Unfortunately, due to a number of factors, particularly the timing of the project and the current economic climate, we felt unable to continue to be part of it.
“We wish the project all the very best going forward.”
Meanwhile a number of other private sector leisure operators have asked to be involved in the regeneration project.
And the application has been welcomed by local businesses.
Karen Goldfinch, chairman of Whitley Bay Chamber of Trade, said: “It’s good that things are progressing. It’ll be interesting to see the plans in more detail.
“I’m hoping to speak to the developers to get more information.
“It appears they’ve listened to comments and reactions from the public and businesses, which is good to see.
“It’s nice to see work on the Joint Service Centre in the town centre start, and now we have the Dome development, which will make a difference to the seafront and rest of the borough.”
Whitley Bay ward councillor Michael McIntyre said: “I welcome the announcement that the planning application has now been submitted.
“I sincerely feel this is the start of something very special for Whitley Bay.
“I believe the work on the Spanish City site is only the beginning of the regeneration of the entire coastline as other derelict sites will also be developed as part of a general improvement of the town and surrounding area.”