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Plan for luxury beach huts moves step closer.

Byline: Christopher Knox

THE company behind a pounds 2m scheme to build 21 luxury beach huts in Whitley Bay has raised investment to roll out the scheme nationwide and unveiled plans to open an art gallery at the site.

Newcastle-based Beach Hut Resorts (BHR) has won final planning approval to build the huts on the Northern Promenade this year and has now gathered together a group of investors to fund a pounds 30m rollout of similar developments in coastal resorts from Scotland to the south coast.

These developments will include the construction of a new art gallery in Whitley Bay this summer, which will accommodate three artists' workshops to help support emerging talent.

The gallery, which is planned to be completed in July in time for a summer show, will sit opposite Rendezvous cafe and will be managed as a community interest company, meaning that all profits will be used to support local art projects.

BHR now plans to open further galleries and workshops along the coastline to promote a Cultural Coast to North Tyneside programme and has also acquired several sites further down the country for future developments, including the construction of 1,200 day-stay and overnight beach huts over the next three years.

Kensington and Partners, which were behind schemes including the renovation of Hebburn Hall and the Court House in Morpeth, are the principal architects behind BHR.

BHR has praised North Tyneside Council for backing this vision and has high hopes that the developments can speed up the regeneration of the North Tyneside coastline as one of the region's biggest holiday destinations. Darren Baker, financial director at BHR, said: "We feel that North Tyneside Council has the vision and ability to regenerate the coast. Its commitment to our project and understanding of the benefit it brings to tourism and inward investment is refreshing.

"We would like to extend the art programme, opening galleries and workshops along the coast to promote a Cultural Coast to North Tyneside.

"We feel this would support tourism and investment providing a cultural walk from Tynemouth to Whitley Bay, again with all profits being invested back into the community."

The beach hut development at Whitley Bay will follow soon after the launch of the gallery and is hoped to encourage tourists to explore the coastline as well as visit a number of newlydeveloped visitor attractions, including the Whitley Bay Playhouse theatre and Waves leisure pool.

Mr Miller said: "We feel our projects are a small stepping stone towards the vision of full coastal regeneration. Along with the planned Spanish City programme and the ongoing work North Tyneside Council is doing, we feel we are at the beginning of a coastal renaissance.

"We admire the mayor and her team for their forward thinking and clear vision for the coast and would welcome any opportunity to work further with the council in the future."


MAKING WAVES Darren Baker plans to help the regeneration of the North Tyneside coastline by building beach huts on the promenade at Whitley Bay
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Feb 23, 2010
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