Traders have welcomed news of a funding boost to breathe new life into the Spanish City Dome.
North Tyneside Council’s bid for £3.47m from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to help restore the Grade II-listed building on Whitley Bay’s seafront was approved last week.
Plans have been drawn up to create a high quality leisure, wedding and conferencing destination with up to five ground floor retail or cafe units, while the first floor will also feature a cafe/restaurant and large leisure space with spectacular elevated sea views towards St Mary’s Lighthouse.
The overall restoration costs are £10m with £4m investment from the council.
And Whitley Bay Chamber of Trade has welcomed the news, hoping it will help boost the entire town and not just the seafront.
Chairman Julie Summers said: “We’re thankful that this is happening. It will bring people back to Whitley Bay.
“We have the new restaurants along the seafront and this will help them survive.”
Work is also due to start this week on a new Premier Inn hotel and restaurant next to the Dome.
Mrs Summers added: “It’s great to see something happening at the site.
“Whitley Bay needs brand names like Premier Inn. Brands help bring confidence to the town.”
Council officials say the future is bright for Whitley Bay’s iconic Spanish City Dome.
Mayor Norma Redfearn said: “This is fantastic news for North Tyneside as I know how much it means to people.
“Our officers have worked tirelessly to bring this scheme to life. They have worked closely with the Heritage Lottery Fund and created a future plan for the Dome which will see it restored to its former splendour and used in ways that will be truly fitting for a building of such significance.
“The Dome has a rich and wonderful past history and this HLF grant will guarantee its future is just as wonderful.”
Once the plans to re-open the Dome as a high quality leisure, wedding and conferencing destination are complete, it will be managed by Kymel Trading Ltd.
Kyle Mackings, chief executive of Kymel Trading Ltd said: “We are absolutely delighted with the news that the Heritage Lottery Fund have supported our collective bid to breathe new life into the iconic Spanish City.
“I have been impressed by the commitment and energy of North Tyneside Council to finding a long term sustainable solution to the use of this special building.
“The starting gun has now been fired on this unique project to bring visitors old and new back to this attractive part of the north east coast.
“As the new operators of Spanish City, we look forward to working with residents and businesses in building the buzz back into Whitley Bay”.
Council chief executive Patrick Melia added: “This is excellent news and a major boost to the council’s plans to deliver its ambitions to transform not just the Dome but the whole seafront.”