A landmark Tyneside venue is set for a new lease of life as a STACK drinking and dining destination if new planning proposals are given the green light.
Newcastle leisure company Danieli Group has submitted plans to create a new STACK development in the former Empress Ballroom in Whitley Bay, North Tyneside, which was originally part of the town’s Spanish City. If successful, the business hopes to return the 113-year-old building to its former position at the forefront of the seaside town’s entertainment scene.
Built in 1910, the Empress Ballroom regularly hosted more than 750 dancers before going on to become the Carlton Club bingo hall. It has lain empty for some time and fallen into disrepair – yet the Stack submission would deliver a new future for the building while also injecting a boost to the local economy.
Plans by current owner Mark Holmes to transform it into a leisure and community venue were delayed by Covid and now, although planning permission for a leisure venue is in place, Danieli Group has applied for a variation of the plans to create Stack Whitley Bay. The plans, to be submitted this week, include the creation of an external roof terrace together with the premises licence application. If successful the hope is to continue along the same route as other successful STACK sites, with the inclusion of a stage for live entertainment and space for street food and drink outlets.
Neill Winch, CEO of the Danieli Group, believes STACK would be a great addition to the town. He said: “Not only will it bring a new dimension to the existing leisure offering but, subject to planning and licensing, it will bring an underutilised building – and much-loved heritage asset – back into use. We are delighted to hopefully be able to continue to build STACK’s strong presence in the North East with this new and exciting venture.”
Owner Mark Holmes added: “When we bought the Empress Ballroom, we had a vision for the magnificent venue, it’s really a hidden treasure in the Spanish City. Our plans were good, but now Neill Winch and STACK have turbo charged these plans and I am convinced they will deliver the quality venue that will benefit Whitley Bay, residents, and the whole community.”
If the application is successful, Whitley Bay will become the latest in a fast-growing portfolio of STACKS being created in the North East and beyond. A year after the closure of its original STACK Newcastle on the site of the former Odeon Cinema, Seaburn in Sunderland continues to go from strength to strength, while developments in Durham, Middlesbrough, Bishop Auckland, Carlisle and a new site in Newcastle city centre are also being created.
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