Spanish City (Photo: Visit North Tyneside

Cathy Russell, associate urban designer at Ryder, reviews the refurbishment of the Spanish City in Whitley Bay (her home town) on the Placemaking Resource website.

The Spanish City fairground with its corkscrew rollercoaster, Fast Eddie’s skatepark and arcades, the Australian themed café Down Under, hen and stag dos and bank holiday weekend mayhe - this was the Whitley Bay seafront, ten miles north east of Newcastle, that I remember when growing up there in the 1980s and 90s.  It had declined since its Victorian heyday.  Further neglect in recent years led to the seafront looking tired and shabby, with several empty buildings along the coast in what should have been a prime location.

North Tyneside Council launched a masterplan to regenerate Whitley Bay seafront in 2006.  Stretching from Cullercoats in the south to St Mary’s Lighthouse three miles to the north, the masterplan included the redevelopment of brownfield sites and historic buildings for new housing, restaurants and bars, hotels and leisure facilities.  It also sought improvements to streets, spaces and landscape to make the area more attractive to visitors, residents and businesses.

Much of the masterplan has been implemented.  The latest – and most significant – development is the refurbishment of the Grade II listed Spanish City, which was completed last year.

Read more: Placemaking Resource