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Beaumont Brown lands Tyneside lighthouse overhaul

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Beaumont Brown Architects has won a publicly tendered contract for a £2 million overhaul of St Mary’s lighthouse and visitor centre in Whitley Bay

The County Durham-based practice was chosen ahead of 22 rival applicants to win the North Tyneside Council-backed commission.

The project will regenerate the Grade II-listed landmark which closed 32 years ago, restoring the structure, improving the visitor centre and delivering new toilets, an internal lift, an exhibition space, a viewing platform and a new shop.

Norma Redfearn, mayor of North Tyneside said: ‘I am pleased that Beaumont Brown has been appointed as the design team for the proposed restoration of St Mary’s Lighthouse.

‘I understand they have an excellent track record of working in this field and on heritage projects and we look forward to successfully delivering this exciting scheme with them.’

The 46m-tall tower features 137 steps to the top, and was constructed on a tidal island north of Whitley Bay in 1898, replacing an earlier 11th-century monastic chapel which featured a lamp to warn passing ships of hazards.

The lighthouse was decommissioned in 1984 and is now accessible to the public at low tide. It currently houses a small museum, visitor’s centre, and café.

The overhaul – scheduled to complete in 2019 – is one element of the council’s £36 million Whitley Bay Seafront Masterplan, which aims to regenerate the historic seaside town.

ADP submitted plans for a £10 million restoration of Whitley Bay’s Grade II-listed Spanish City Dome visitor attraction in 2016 as part of the masterplan.

The council is planning to submit a stage two application to the Heritage Lottery Fund for the lighthouse overhaul this spring. If successful the project is planned to start on site later this year.

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