Thursday, October 25, 2007

Bankside contoversy

Concerns that a nightclub was on its way to a prominent Saltburn spot have been dismissed. The former Bankside pub is in the middle of a £450,000 refit prior to becoming Vista Mar, which is Spanish for sea view. But an application for a 3am licence provoked suspicion from some locals, who fear a noisy nightclub scenario.
That application has now been revised to 2am by Dave Stokes who will own and run the 'restaurant and concept bar', in conjunction with Enterprise Inns Ltd.
Some residents have voiced opposition to the bid for a licence to allow music, singing and dancing in the premises until 2am. These concerned residents are not opposed to developing the seafront and think the idea of a restaurant is a great idea but they are concerned that the late night concept, with a licence for music, singing and dancing until will lead to problems with noise and nuisance.
Mr Stokes, former tenant at Windsor’s bar in the town, said the site had been crying out for a good quality bar-restaurant. The development is not intended to be a nightclub - it’s a bar-restaurant where people can chill and enjoy good service in comfort. He added that there would be no dance floor, no DJs - just a background music system. He emphasised that the site had been an eyesore for some time and that everyone wanted something doing with it. Mr Stokes said he was happy to talk to anyone concerned about the plans. He stated that he was aware that the Bankside site had had its problems and a certain reputation over the years but his idea is to create an environment where people can have a good meal, a drink and enjoy the view in comfort. On the food side, Mr Stokes is employing three full-time chefs and providing an expanded kitchen. And so customers can drink in the sea view, a large balcony area, complete with floor to ceiling glass and an outside area, is being built.
The planned opening date is December 6.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

No progress in developing Saltburn's Foreshore Building

Local businessman Harry Meckiffe is furious at an apparent lack of progress in the successful utilization and use of Saltburn's Lower Promenade building. Mr Meckiffe opened a kite and extreme sports equipment shop in one of the building's commercial units in 2004. More than three years later his business is standing firm, but a restaurant and community room are still not open and another season has come and gone. Although the council says it is doing all it can to realise the buildings full potential Mr Meckiffe disagrees and he has even withheld rent from Redcar and Cleveland Council, claiming the terms of his lease aren’t being followed.
Mr Meckiffe, who is also a personal fitness trainer, has expressed his dismay at the fact that so little is being done with the building. “It costs more to maintain this way than if they got the place running properly. You’ve got a building here that looks derelict half the time. One visitor thought it was a water treatment works. At no point in its history have all the shutters been up and the building fully open.”
Mr Meckiffe chairs the Saltburn Foreshore Committee. The committee want the council to open the building, improve seafront maintenance and put some effort into development of the foreshore. As part of this remit Mr Meckiffe has contacted the Audit Commission over the lack of progress - a constant complaint since the building, originally costing £570,000, was mooted by the now defunct Saltburn Improvement Company in the late 1990s. Construction work was completed in 2002 but since then, funding and legal wrangles and even a water leak from the adjacent hillside have hampered progress.
The council’s Cabinet member for culture, leisure and tourism, Councillor Sheelagh Clarke, sympathised but said the authority was “doing all within its power to progress the situation so businesses within the building can thrive commercially”.
She explained the proposed restaurant was originally given a domestic gas supply “inadequate for the purpose of opening a restaurant”. British Gas is now due to fit the correct supply on October 20. The restaurant operator is also seeking planning permission to alter the unit’s fa├žade.
She said the building would be cleaned and painted during the first week in October - work which will hopefully help secure a commercial operator for the currently vacant third commercial unit.