Major improvements to a popular seafront promenade and two much-loved cafés are nearing completion.
North Tyneside Council has invested more than £1million in the next stage of its ambitious transformation of Whitley Bay’s Northern Promenade.
The work, which started in October 2020, has seen the promenade surface in the areas in front of the Rendezvous café, on the seafront side, and The Links Gallery Café, on the car park side, upgraded with red tarmac to match the previously-completed southern section of the promenade.
New pebble seating has been installed and edging blocks and railings have been upgraded.
The public toilets have been given a complete refurbishment, similar to the work carried out to improve the Watts Slope facilities, and now feature eye-catching local artwork on the walls.
The Rendezvous and Links Cafés have undergone repointing work and repairs, roof repairs and level access has been created. The Rendezvous café has also had roller shutters removed and brand new sympathetic heritage double glazed windows installed. The work has preserved its character while improving the fabric of the building.
The Dukes Walk car park has been resurfaced, the entrance steps to the Links Art Gallery cafe frontage have been replaced, the connecting stone stairs to and from the Links to the car park have been improved and the shelter on the Links opposite Bournemouth Gardens is undergoing improvements.
The remaining works are expected to be complete in around three weeks and the promenade and car park are due to be fully reopen from around 10 April.
The exciting project forms part of the council’s Ambition for North Tyneside strategy, which outlines plans for major investment in each part of the borough.
As part of the 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 major improvements are continuing in North Shields as part of the master plan to revitalise the town centre and improve connectivity to the Fish Quay.
Elected Mayor Norma Redfearn CBE said: “What a stunning transformation the promenade has undergone – it looks truly wonderful.
“The promenade and café are hugely popular and this is something residents have been wanting to see for a long time so I’m delighted to see the improvements nearing completion.
“This is excellent timing too as lockdown restrictions start to ease and it gives people extra space to get out and enjoy some fresh air and exercise with their families along our beautiful coastline.
“We know how popular Whitley Bay already is, particularly following our huge achievements in recent years with the restoration of the Spanish City and the upgrades along the coast, and this latest project will only add to that.
“We’re still seeing new businesses set up in the town despite the challenges over the past year and by continuing with our ambitious plans for the borough it will help attract even more investment into the area.”
Tiz Weepers, owner of the Rendezvous Café, said: “We would like to thank North Tyneside Council and everyone involved who have worked so hard to complete this project on time.
“We feel so grateful to be part of this new chapter and coming out of this dreadful year of lockdown.”
Ben Richardson and Lori Montalbano, owners of the Links Gallery Café, said: “We’re really pleased with the work that’s been carried out to the building and surrounding area and we’re now looking forward to welcoming back all our customers when we reopen.”
Also, as part of the project, new facilities have been provided to store beach wheelchairs managed by Beach Access North East.
Trustee Sue Rowley said: “On behalf of Beach Access North East, I want to say a huge thank you to North Tyneside Council for the refurbished premises they have given us on the promenade, Whitley Bay. This new BANE unit, to store our beach wheelchairs, will also be our main office.
“I am thrilled how quickly the work is nearing completion and this new unit will hopefully encourage more people to visit the beach as the free service we offer gives accessibility to all.”
Further work to complete the refurbishment of the remainder of the promenade is also earmarked to take place over the coming years.