Work to complete the next stage of the ambitious transformation of Whitley Bay’s Northern Promenade is to get underway.
North Tyneside Council is investing more than £1million in the project, which will see the external renovation of the much-loved Rendezvous Café and elements of The Links Gallery Cafe, the public toilets revamped, the Dukes Walk car park resurfaced and the promenade surface and public realm in the areas around the cafes upgraded.
The work is due to start in mid October and is expected to be complete by spring 2021.
It is the next phase of the council’s exciting makeover of the popular promenade and forms part of the Ambition for North Tyneside strategy, which outlines plans for major investment in each part of the borough.
As part of the Ambition strategy, a number of major achievements have already been made, including the major £6million flood alleviation project at Killingworth Lake and the revamp of Forest Hall shopping area, while public consultation is underway on the draft masterplan for North Shields aimed at revitalising the town centre and improving its connectivity to the Fish Quay.
Elected Mayor Norma Redfearn CBE said: “I am absolutely delighted that we’re ready to press ahead with the next stage of the promenade’s transformation.
“The first round of work on the southern section proved hugely popular and has been fantastically well-received by residents and visitors and it has been wonderful to see so many families out and about on the prom enjoying a walk along our beautiful coastline.
“I know many of our residents have been eagerly-awaiting news of when the rest of the promenade will be improved, and it has been a personal ambition of mine for some time, so this really is brilliant news.
“I’m sure that once this phase of work is complete everyone will see the benefits. We’re seeing lots of great, new investment in the town on the back of our successful regeneration and it will only add to the popularity and appeal of Whitley Bay as a great place to live, work and visit.”
The first phase of improvements to the promenade, which were part of the council’s multi-million pound Seafront Master Plan, saw the tired and uninviting walkway completely transformed with bright coloured surfacing and new seating, shelters and railings. An ice cream and coffee kiosk has also opened there.
As part of the next phase, red tarmac will replace the current paving in the area in front of the Rendezvous café, new pebble seating will be installed and the edging blocks and railings will be upgraded to match the southern section.
The public toilets will be given a makeover, similar to the work carried out to improve the Watts Slope facilities.
The work to the café is aimed at preserving its character while improving the fabric of the building. Level access will be created and repointing work and repairs will be carried out.
The Dukes Walk car park will be resurfaced, the entrance steps to the Links Art Gallery entrance will be replaced, the connecting footpaths to the promenade will be improved and the shelter on the Links opposite Bournemouth Gardens will undergo repairs.
Both the Rendezvous and Links Gallery cafes will remain open throughout the works and although the existing public toilets will be closed during the project, temporary toilet facilities will be provided next to the car park.
Parking will not be available in the Dukes Walk car park from 12 October and public access will be prevented to the car park and to the promenade in front of the Rendezvous Café, as well as through the southern archway from the car park to the promenade. Alternative parking is available nearby in the Brierdene car park and elsewhere along the coast.
Tiz Weepers, owner of the Rendezvous Café, said: “The Rendezvous Café has been in our family for more than 50 years and is a big part of Whitley Bay’s history.
“We are really excited about the next phase of the regeneration of the promenade, which will be a big boost for us, and we’re looking forward to many more happy years here. We’d also like to thank all our customers for their continued support over the past few months.”
Also, as part of the project, new facilities will be provided to store beach wheelchairs managed by Beach Access North East.
Sue Rowley, on behalf of the group’s trustees, said: “I would like to say a huge thank you to North Tyneside Council for including us in the next phase of the work to the promenade.
“As Whitley Bay is our main site, and most popular beach, having premises indoors will massively improve the service we can offer.”
Further work to complete the refurbishment of the remainder of the promenade is also earmarked to take place over the next two to three years.