Primary school in Whitley Bay objects to proposed Spanish City STACK

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A Whitley Bay school has objected to a proposed roof terrace at a STACK venue at the Spanish City, which will “overlook classrooms.”

Marine Park First School has raised concerns about a proposed terrace on the former Empress Ballroom, which is set to be converted into a new food and drink venue run by STACK.

According to council documents, the staff at the school are concerned the terrace will overlook classrooms and play areas.

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In a statement to North Tyneside Council, staff at Marine Park said: “We are very concerned that the roof terrace will overlook classrooms as well as outdoor learning and play areas during the operational hours of a school.

Plans to turn the Empress Ballroom into a STACK will be decided on by councillors next week.Plans to turn the Empress Ballroom into a STACK will be decided on by councillors next week.
Plans to turn the Empress Ballroom into a STACK will be decided on by councillors next week.

"We are equally concerned that activity on the terrace will be visible to children in six classrooms on the ground and first floor as well as outdoor learning and play areas.

“There are 30 children that learn in each classroom for 6.5 hours per day, 120 children in total. The playground is used by up to 520 children each day.

"The view of the terrace risks normalising a drinking culture from a young age as well as the risks of witnessing antisocial behaviour.”

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The school has proposed the terrace’s opening times be limited during school hours or be screened off to avoid their concerns of overlooking or exposure to anti-social behaviour. However council officers have recommended the application is granted.

According to officer comments on the terrace application: “Concerns relating to the potential anti-social behaviour are noted. However, there is no evidence to suggest that this will be the case.

"The case applicant has advised that they are a responsible operator who has several internal policies relating to customer management and dispersal policies.

“The management of the customers is of a key concern to them and they operate within these parameters to ensure that they not only provide a safe environment for their customers but for any neighbours as well.”

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It is also officers’ opinion that peak operating times for the new terrace and venue will be at the weekends and evenings, thus restricting the hours of use or screening would not be reasonable.

Council estimates also claim the views of the school’s playground are already obscured by the existing school building.

Councillors are set to decide the terrace application at the next meeting of the council’s planning committee on Tuesday, September 26.