Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Protest over Balustrade Demolition Gathers Pace

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Protest over Balustrade Demolition Gathers Pace

Article excerpt

Byline: Tony Henderson Environment Editor tony.henderson@ncjmedia.co.uk

PROTESTERS manned the balustrades yesterday as they continued their campaign to save a town's seafront feature.

In a matter of days more than 1,700 people have signed an online petition against plans by North Tyneside Council to demolish the sculpted balustrades along the central promenade in Whitley Bay.

The Save Our Balustrades (SOB) movement is appealing to North Tyneside Mayor Norma Redfearn to save the features.

Yesterday campaigners gathered at the balustrades with a banner urging drivers to toot in support as they collected more signatures for the petition.

They say that the balustrades, thought to date from the 1920s-30s, embody memories of Whitley Bay and its seaside past for many people.

The campaigners say that council plans to replace the balustrades with metal railings will detract from the character of the seafront and point to rusting stretches nearby.

The council plans to remove the balustrades as part of its scheme to demolish the lower central promenade - which itself attracted protests- to improve sea defences. Campaigner Brenda Sokell, who counted the 453 balustrades, said: "I was born in Whitley Bay and the balustrades are part of the town and are part of our heritage. They are much more attractive than metal railings.

"It is ridiculous to replace a feature which is historic and has been here since the 1920s."

Another protester, Jacqueline Quinn, who lives in the town. said: "Demolishing the balustrades would be another blow for Whitley Bay, which already looks sad and neglected compared with its neighbours Blyth, Cullercoats and Tynemouth.

"The balustrades have a historic look which makes this part of the promenade look different."

Caz Lamb, one of the campaign leaders, said: "The response since we began has been absolutely amazing. …

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