The company aiming to create a new cycle cafe and shop at the end of the 140-mile C2C (Sea to Sea) Ride have defended their plans in the light of 3,000 objections in the planning stage.
Northern Property Group has submitted a planning application to North Tyneside Council to build leisure facilities for cyclists, including a rooftop garden, viewing terrace and a shop, at the Spanish Battery.
Brothers Josh Boyle and Mark Maitland, and their friend Gareth Reece are seeking planning permission for the site, which cyclists say will be a huge improvement on the current finish line - a car park with a totem pole.
According to Sustrans, the C2C is the UK’s most popular challenge cycle route, and many charity riders choose it every year.
North Tyneside Council has approved the plans in principle, on land owned by Mark Maitland.
The C2C links Whitehaven or Workington with Sunderland or Tynemouth.
But the proposal has attracted fierce objection, with a petition signed by more than 3,000 opponents.
Many locals appear to fear it would disturb the tranquillity of the area, cause traffic problems and harm wildlife.
But project director Josh Boyle told the News Guardian: “We want to deliver a cycle hub to put Tynemouth on the cycle map. The hub will contain facilities hugely needed in Tynemouth, such as showers, changing facilities, bike workshops and service stations.
“From the outset, we have engaged with the public and adapted the plans after listening to the concerns raised, recently confirming that the opening hours would be reduced – a significant change.
“We have held our own petition, with more than 1,700 signatures who support the development. Supporting comments have also been made on the planning portal.
“We are looking at how we can address other concerns, while still providing a world-class cycling hub for all to enjoy.”
According to the Watch House Garden website, “Back in 2010 Josh Boyle completed the Coast to Coast cycle route. Elated and tired Josh was surprised to feel slightly disappointed that there wasn’t a place, a real finishing line, somewhere he could meet friends and family to mark his achievement.
“This moment facilitated a conversation with his brother Mark and their friend Gareth and The Watch House Garden project was born.
“At present The Coast to Coast Bike ride and Great North Bike Ride currently have no infrastructure to provide a welcoming end to a significant achievement. We want to change this!”
After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.