Plans submitted for STACK Whitley Bay

A landmark Whitley Bay venue could enjoy a new lease of life if planning proposals are accepted for a STACK development in the former Empress Ballroom.

If successful, Danieli Group hopes to return the 113-year-old building – originally part of the town’s Spanish City – to its former place at the forefront of the town’s entertainment scene.

Built in 1910, the Ballroom – which regularly hosted upwards of 750 dancers – went on to become the Carlton Club bingo hall before lying empty and falling into disrepair.

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. This includes plans to build an external roof terrace along with the premises licence application.

If successful the hope is to continue along the same route as other successful STACKs, with a stage for live entertainment, and street food and drink outlets.

Neill Winch, CEO of the Danieli Group, 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 be added to the growing portfolio of STACKs being created in the North East and beyond. With STACK Seaburn in Sunderland continuing to go from strength to strength, developments in Durham, Middlesbrough, Bishop Auckland, Carlisle and a new site in Newcastle are also being created, as well as in Lincoln.

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