St Mary’s Lighthouse in Whitley Bay will undergo refurbishment next year
and live on Freeview channel 276
North Tyneside Council has reaffirmed its commitment to invest in the landmark with a list of works including redecoration, general repairs, lighting upgrades, and new windows.
The cost of the project has yet to be confirmed before the completion of ecological surveys and a contract tendering process, but cash has been set aside in next year’s budget.
Carl Johnson, Deputy Mayor and cabinet member for regeneration said: “St Mary’s Lighthouse and Island is one of the borough’s most iconic landmarks, visible along much of the North East coast.
"It brings tourism to the area and forms a hub for vital marine conservation activities.
"We have committed to invest in this historic island and to undertake necessary improvements to the buildings as part of our budget proposals for 2024/25.
“The lighthouse is on Historic England’s risk register and refurbishing it will be complex. The site is also an important habitat for wildlife.
"We are currently assessing what impact work will have on the wildlife, and we will be able to outline a full programme of work, with timescales and costs, once we are clear on the ecological issues.
“We will work closely with community organisations, residents, and businesses to make sure the work has minimal impact on the island, its inhabitants, the nature reserve, and the buildings.”
Calls to upgrade the lighthouse and St Mary’s Island were made by Conservative councillor Ian McAlpine in a council motion in July.
The council agreed to commit to reinvesting in the local tourism attraction but fell short of committing funds to repainting in the interim.
North Tyneside Council’s Labour administration stated if work began this year it would require borrowing money as it was not budgeted, incurring a lending cost of £100,000 over the next 10 years.
Previous attempts to upgrade the lighthouse with external cash in 2018 failed after the local authority’s bid for £2.1m from the Heritage Lottery Fund was rejected.
The Fund told North Tyneside Council its financial resources were too tight to support the scheme.