Ambitious proposals for the long-awaited restoration of the Spanish City Dome are on the home straight.
Works to restore the iconic building on Whitley Bay’s seafront are set to begin after final approval for the scheme was secured.
The starting gun was fired in March when North Tyneside Council was told its bid for £3.47m from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) had been successful.
It marked the culmination of years of hard work by the council, its partners and the local community and meant all the funding was in place to carry out a full refurbishment.
At a meeting on Monday May 9, Cabinet gave the authority the go-ahead to officially accept the HLF grant – giving the green light for work to get underway this summer.
Overall restoration costs are estimated at £10m – the council has invested more than £4m and a Coastal Communities Fund grant of over £2.5m was previously secured.
The project is the centrepiece of the council’s £36m Whitley Bay Seafront Master Plan, which also includes restoration of St Mary’s Lighthouse, improvement works around the Northern Promenade and a new Premier Inn hotel and restaurant next to the dome.
Norma Redfearn, Elected Mayor of North Tyneside, said: “I’m thrilled that the long-awaited restoration of the Spanish City Dome can begin.
“So much hard work went into the HLF bid and it was the icing on the cake when we found out it had been successful.
“This funding, on top of the money invested by the council and the Coastal Communities grant, allows us to carry out a complete refurbishment and restore the original fabric of the building.
“The dome has such a rich and important history but has been empty for far too long.
“This work will return the building back to its original 1910 splendour and bring back to life an iconic listed building for the benefit of residents and visitors while also boosting the local economy by creating new employment opportunities, new businesses and amenities.
“The Spanish City Dome project is at the centre of our ambitious and exciting plans to reinvigorate the coast and make it an attractive and appealing destination for everyone.”
A number of historic features dating back to when the attraction first opened in 1910, which were previously removed, will be rebuilt and installed as part of the restoration project.
The work – which is being delivered by Robertson Construction – will involve building two new modern extensions at either end of the wings to house heating and cooling facilities. A new rear entrance incorporating lift access to the upper floor will also be built.
Loggias, which were removed in the early 1970s, will be rebuilt in a similar style to their original design informed by historic photos. Tall decorative tops and cupolas will be rebuilt to the 1910 design, again by using historical images and drawings as reference.
Shopfronts, doors and windows will be reinstated in keeping with the traditional look of the Edwardian Grade II listed building by using joinery details from the few salvaged doors and windows along with historical photos.
And the rotunda area will be returned to its original 1910 design by removing the in-filled first floor and reinstating the central columns, providing double height space once again and bringing back the balcony and balustrading.