15 November 2016
Fresh plans to strengthen and refurbish Central Lower Promenade in Whitley Bay have been submitted.
Following intervention from the Elected Mayor, North Tyneside Council has drawn up an alternative design for the coastal sea defence scheme, which will save more than £1m and has incorporated suggestions made by the public.
The new proposals have been officially lodged with planning officials who will now consider the application before a decision is expected early next year.
It comes after 166 people attended two exhibition events at the end of last month (October), to look at the proposals in more detail and give their feedback.
Nearly everyone who left feedback said that they strongly backed the alternative proposals (92 per cent) and supported the need to upgrade Whitley Bay’s sea defences (93 per cent).
Participants praised the simplicity of the scheme, which was described as “much better” than the previous proposal, “attractive and practical”, “value for money” and “an improvement to the area” which “could attract visitors”.
The response was similarly positive on social media with many taking to the council’s Facebook pages to comment favourably on the plans and say how they now look forward to the scheme becoming a reality as soon as possible.
The council has considered all of the feedback, which has helped inform its planning application.
Elected Mayor Norma Redfearn said: “I am delighted that we have now submitted the new plans for this important project, which will not only strengthen and safeguard sea defences but also breathe new life into this part of the seafront.
“It’s fantastic too that we have had an overwhelmingly positive response in support of the new designs. Residents have made it clear that they now just want us to get on and deliver this scheme and we really appreciate their patience while these new plans have been drawn up. It is important that we ensure we save public money and get the best design possible, so it will be worth the wait.
“I would personally like to thank everyone who came along to the two public events and had their say as feedback from the community is vital in a project like this. We will take all of these comments onboard as part of the overall scheme and look forward to seeing it progress.”
The sea wall, which acts as a vital sea defence for the town, is nearly 100 years old and is reaching the end of its serviceable life so needs to be replaced.
The project will see a new rear wall built and the existing lower sea wall strengthened by covering it in concrete blocks.
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 proposal also allows for the future installation of ‘pop-up’ stalls which could house commercial ventures, if there is the demand.
The wide upper footway will be refurbished and enhanced while the design also includes the Mayor’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.
The project will be carried out in partnership with Hartlepool Borough Council who have completed similar coastal promenade schemes to a high standard.
Detailed design work is now underway before a decision is made on the planning application, and, subject to approval, work is expected to start on site in April 2017 with completion due in the winter.
The scheme is being funded jointly by the council and its partners Northumbrian Water and the Environment Agency.
The Central Lower Promenade scheme is part of the council’s £36m 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
Photo: Please find artists’ impression attached.
Media and Communications Adviser
North Tyneside Council
Direct line: (0191) 643 5077
Media enquiries: (0191) 643 2211