Page last updated at 20:56 GMT, Thursday, 8 January 2009

Tourist town hit hard by downturn

Spanish City dome
Whitley Bay is home to Spanish City, which was built in 1910

Fears have been expressed about the future of a cherished part of North Tyneside as it struggles to cope with the economic downturn.

Like many once-bustling high streets, the centre of tourist resort Whitley Bay is becoming lined with shutters as businesses are forced to close.

Woolworths now stands empty, Marks and Spencers will follow and the stationers T and G Allan is struggling.

The local Chamber of Commerce has said the town has been hit hard.

Interest cut

Many of the shops on the Victorian high street have been there since the early 1930s, and now their future has become uncertain.

George Cain, of the USDAW union, said he hoped the most recent cut in interest rates would help the struggling shops.

He said: "We have to get people back in the town and buying from our businesses.

"The interest cut should help do that and get customers spending again, I just hope that things will improve."

Whitley Bay is home to the iconic Spanish City building and has been a popular seaside resort for many decades.

Plans, costing about 60m, were approved to transform the town's seafront last year.



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08 Jan 09 |  England

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