Whitley Bay councillors unite in delight over refurbishment announcement for St Mary's lighthouse

The landmark will be closed off later this month to allow for repairs and restoration work.
-Credit: (Image: ChronicleLive)

Whitley Bay councillors are “delighted” over the news St Mary’s Lighthouse will be receiving renovation works, starting on June 24.

Yesterday, North Tyneside Council announced the long-awaited near £900,000 renovation for the iconic landmark - often referred to as the “jewel in the crown” of the local coastline. To allow the work to go ahead the lighthouse and the island will close to visitors from June 24 until mid-September to avoid disrupting the ecology and wildlife.

The causeway will close on June 24 and re-open on 22 July. Visitors will be able to enjoy the coastline and rockpools around the island at low tide during the school holiday. Once the summer holidays have finished in September, the causeway will then close for two weeks, as the work draws to a close. This is to allow construction vehicles safe access to and from the island and everything will re-open in mid-September.

Read More: Whitley Bay High School head blasts 'one-word' Ofsted scores as school retains outstanding status Get your regional General Election coverage here

The works have united each of the ward's Labour, Independent, and Conservative councillors, each expressing their delight over the island’s face-up.

Independent councillor Judith Wallace said: “I have been pushing for these works to be done for a long time. The lighthouse is an iconic part of St Mary’s Ward and indeed our whole coastline, I am delighted it is going to be done.

“I do hope top quality materials will be used that allow a long-lasting job. It is a shame it will take quite some time and that obviously public access will be restricted but if that is essential for it to be done then unfortunately we have to accept that.

“I would like to see people working maximum hours, while weather permits so work is done as quickly as possible so residents can benefit from the facility as they like to do in the summer months.”

Conservative councillor for St Mary’s Ian McAlpine said: “I’m delighted by the news that this work is finally commencing. Residents and visitors often talk to me about the condition of the lighthouse, disappointed that the jewel in the crown of our coast has fallen into its current state.

“These refurbishments are the first, in what I hope will be a series of steps to fully restore the landmark. It’s unfortunate the site will be shut over the summer months, which would orally be its busiest time and attract thousands of visitors. I hope the closure allows the team to do a thorough job and that the result looks great.

“I know our residents are looking forward to seeing the work completed.”

The ward’s first-ever Labour councillor Andy Holdsworth said: “It is fantastic news that our beloved St Mary’s lighthouse is getting the much-needed and well-thought-through works which are sensitive to the needs of the local wildlife”.