Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Back to the Future

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Back to the Future

Article excerpt

A 1920s travel poster for Tynemouth became a symbol yesterday for the future of the village.

The holiday poster shows visitors looking out over Tynemouth Longsands with its bathing pool and the Victorian Plaza building.

But for visitors who stand on the same spot today, the pool is now a derelict eyesore and the Plaza is gone - the victim of a blaze in 1996.

Now people in Tynemouth have banded together to fight against change which they claim will damage the area.

They have produced the first character statement document for an urban village in the UK, which will now become part of North Tyneside Council's planning set-up.

Residents hope that the document will help manage change so that the special character of the village is protected and enhanced.

Local people worked on the project for many months and Nigel Bryant, who headed the village team, said: "We must have talked to about 300 people and then there were all the responses to drafts which were incorporated in the final document, so it truly reflects what local people feel about their village.

"When we started to list all the attributes, we realised what a special place it is and fell in love with it all over again.

"Now we hope the document will make a real difference to the future development of the village.

"The pace of change within the village is quite breathtaking," said Nigel, who pointed out that even during the period leading up to the publication of the document, one shop in Front Street became a pub and two others closed.

In 1971 most of Tynemouth became a conservation area, which covers 49 listed buildings.

But one of the main concerns of more than 200 people who filled in questionnaires included the worry that there were too many pubs, with crowds of drinkers on Front Street and taxis catering for revellers parked at the roadside with engines running.

In 1860 there were 17 licensed premises in the village. Now there is a total of 24, including pubs, clubs, hotels, restaurants, and off-licences.

Other concerns were unsightly empty rooms above shops, shop frontages out of character with the historic nature of the village and the derelict state of the outdoor swimming pool. …

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