Work to build a new Premier Inn hotel as part of the continuing revamp of Whitley Bay’s seafront is underway.
The new hotel is being built next to the iconic Spanish City Dome and is part of North Tyneside Council’s Seafront Master Plan to reinvigorate the coastline between St Mary’s Island and Cullercoats Bay.
The council’s Planning Committee approved the development, which also features a restaurant, bar and car park, in February.
One of the UK’s leading building firms, Robertson Construction England, has been awarded the £4.5m contract to build the hotel.
Work is expected to be complete by June 2017 and the project will be delivered by a number of supply chain partners from across the North East region.
Once complete, the new three-storey, 68 bedroom hotel is expected to welcome guests from across the UK wanting to see the dome. It will also see 69 full and part time jobs created.
Norma Redfearn, Elected Mayor of North Tyneside, said: “Seeing the work start on building the new Premier Inn hotel is really exciting and marks another step forward in our multi-million pound plans to breathe new life into the coast at Whitley Bay.
“This is a huge step forward and follows the news of our successful funding bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund to restore the Spanish City Dome and, more recently, learning that we have gained initial support from HLF to restore and safeguard St Mary’s Lighthouse.
“The combination of this new hotel and our plans for the dome will not only mean many more visitors and businesses will be attracted to the town and our coastline but it will also increase confidence in the borough among businesses as somewhere they can flourish.”
Commenting on the contract win, Garry Hope, Regional Managing Director of Robertson North East England, said: “We were awarded the job by our sister company, Robertson Property who have a long established relationship with Premier Inn.
“This is a great example of our ability to recruit specialist teams under the Robertson umbrella. It’s a more efficient experience for us, the build team and of course the client, who will deal with only one team.”
Premier Inn worked alongside conservation officers from the council and Tyne and Wear Joint Conservation Team to ensure a modern but appropriate architectural solution to sit alongside the Grade II listed dome while making the most of the stunning seafront views.
Designed by Ayrshire-based architects, LMA, the Premier Inn will also house a 190-cover Beefeater restaurant.
In addition to the hotel, Robertson was also recently given the go ahead to restore the Spanish City Dome itself to bring it back it its former glory.
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.
Patrick Melia, Chief Executive, North Tyneside Council, said: “As a council we are committed to revitalising the coastline at Whitley Bay, ensuring it is somewhere people want to live, work and visit, and the new Premier Inn is a key part of achieving that so it is pleasing to see building work get underway and we look forward to its completion.”
The Seafront Master Plan features a mix of council and private sector developments and involves more than £36m of new investment at the coast. As well as the restoration of the dome and St Mary’s Lighthouse, the project has also seen indicative plans to develop the former Avenue Hotel site for housing recently approved.