Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Home Town Boy Helps the Dome Find New Future

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Home Town Boy Helps the Dome Find New Future

Article excerpt

Byline: Kate Proctor Reporter kate.proctor@ncjmedia.co.uk

THE iconic white dome of Spanish City beat 250 other heritage projects in the UK to be singled out for its multi-million cash boost, it has been revealed.

And the man who made sure Whitley Bay was on the national agenda grew up just a stone's throw from its seafront location.

Ben Greener is currently responsible for overseeing the project which has awarded the Spanish City Dome a PS3.7m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund's brand new Heritage Enterprise fund. The former St Thomas More pupil, whose family still live in nearby Monkseaton, said in a year's time the Dome should be well on its way to becoming a successful cultural and business venue.

"What we need to see in there is a commercial business and something that's going to make money. We want this to be a successful, viable enterprise and the council have mooted that there will be commercial units and enterprise spaces.

"There's been talk of a cafe and maybe a gym. We had 250 project enquiries and we've funded 11 to date so demand has been huge."

Mr Greener, 30, who is based in London, oversees the Heritage Lottery's new multi-million fund for enterprise based projects and he was part of the initial assessment team that accepted North Tyneside Council's plans for Spanish City.

Their PS3.7m grant will be delivered in full so long as the authority passes a second round of funding scrutiny, although PS182,000 has already been released to kick-start a consultation process and fund vital repair works on the Grade II listed Dome.

Although he doesn't have any say over the final decision on whether to award the Spanish City project the rest of its grant, as that is taken by the Heritage Lottery's board of trustees, he said North Tyneside Council have so far put forward a convincing business case. …

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