Whitley Bay Big Local - North Tyneside


  • In 2012 a run-down central area of the northern seaside town of Whitley Bay was designated as one of the 150 Big Local community led regeneration projects. These involve £1m of lottery funding over 10 years, to be used as residents of the area decide, through a community-led partnership.
  • Since then, residents of the area working closely with North Tyneside Council, have played a significant part in transforming the area. They have revived the annual town carnival, run a community hub from a town centre shop, hosted sessions by the local CAB and credit union, employed a town caretaker, made small grants to enterprising local residents and undertaken a wide range of community projects.
  • In 2017, the group turned their attention to the local housing situation. Not knowing much about the financing of housing and following discussions with the Council and other local agencies, they decided to use some of their lottery funds to commission a feasibility study into the potential for CLH development in the area
  • The local authority assisted with resources such as information, advice and professional expertise. The community group is assessing whether and how they might contribute to meeting housing needs, potentially by the development of sites and properties not attractive to conventional developers and with a large element of local input and volunteering.

Key messages

  • For the relatively very small amount of investment of a few thousand pounds, a well delivered feasibility study can provide both the local authority and the local community with a detailed assessment of the potential and opportunities for various forms of CLH in a designated area of the Borough
  • Additionally, the process of community and stakeholder consultation involved in the feasibility study will help to build connections and partnership working between the local authority and local organisations
  • Recognising the importance and potential of linkage between community premises and community housing projects, the group have included both in their feasibility study brief

General information about Whitley Bay Big Local

The feasibility study brief is included below:


Request for Expressions of Interest

To undertake a feasibility study to explore opportunities for the development of community-led space and affordable housing in Whitley Bay

 1.      Background

 1.1 Whitley Bay Big Local (WBBL) is a £1 million, 10 year National Lottery funded project.  There were 150 areas chosen throughout England, each aiming to make a massive and lasting positive difference in their communities

1.2 In March 2017 Whitley Big Local became a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (Registered Charity No 1171848) with a Board of Trustees made up of local residents and others from the Whitley Bay area, with the aim of making Whitley Bay a great place to live, work and visit.

1.3 We have entered the fourth year of our 10 year delivery plan and as a board we have started to consider the second half of our programme and the potential lasting legacy of Whitley Bay Big Local.

1.4 As part of that legacy, we want to explore the potential and feasibility of:

  • Creating a sustainable community space that will operate after the end of the 10 year period
  • Providing affordable accommodation in the Whitley Bay Big Local area (or immediately adjacent area)

1.5 We already have done some preparatory work. For example: met with supportive local authority officers and elected members, gathered some relevant information, identified some local needs and identified expertise for a project steering group. We now need independent professional help to take this initiative to the next stage.

2.      Brief

2.1    We are inviting expressions of interest from suitably qualified consultants or agencies to undertake a feasibility study into the potential for community led development of land or property within the WBBL area and immediate surrounding area.

2.2    The study should include an initial assessment of the following:

  • Demand – Potential community interest and capacity to undertake a community led property development in the WBBL area; including an assessment of different types of development and their potential outcomes
  • Needs – Desktop assessment of identified needs in the area
  • Supply - Potential sites or properties available for development, their approximate value and the feasibility of them being sustainably developed
  • Local Context - The strategic and local planning context – which is referenced in the North Tyneside Local Plan 2017.
  • National context – briefing for the WBBL on potential sources of revenue and capital support for both community housing and property developments.

2.3 WBBL would welcome proposals that were able to:

  • Build an evidence base using information from and in consultation with supportive Local Authority Officer colleagues in respect of: commercial property types, ownership, condition and levels of vacancy; housing need, affordability and the current state of the local property market; what we mean by affordable housing and whether Whitley Bay is currently ‘affordable’ based upon North East earnings (to rent or buy); an overview of commercial lease and residential rental levels in the WBBL area (or immediately adjacent area)
  • Develop case studies that make the study relevant.  We suggest that the successful candidate identifies three potential development sites within the WBBL area (or immediately adjacent area) and provides summary financial and SWOT style assessment of the potential of each for development.  These studies should also include an assessment of a variety of potential community uses including space for social entrepreneurs / start ups
  • Provide an initial exploration of options to combine a community venue and community led housing in one unit / at one site
  • Outline options for delivering long term financial sustainability for a community space and community led housing developments
  • Explore and give recommendations for options related to organisational structure that could support the development of a community space and / or community led housing project in the WBBL area
  • Explore options for professional support and funding streams that may be available to support phases in the development of a community space and community led-housing.

3.      Reporting

 3.1 The successful consultant or agency will work closely with and be supported by members of Whitley Bay Big Local’s commissioning group for this study.

3.2 During the study period, they will liaise with Whitley Bay Big Local’s Programme Delivery Co-ordinator.

4.      Funding and Fees

4.1 We are inviting expressions of interest that include a fully costed quote of no more than £6,000 for this study (inclusive of VAT and all costs).

5.      Timescale

5.1 We aim that this initial study will take no more than 3 months. We aim for it to start as soon as possible and ideally will be completed by end of February 2017 with a report to WBBL’s Board of Trustees

6.      Expressions of Interest

6.1 Expressions of interest should include:

a summary CV of the person/s proposing to undertake the work, indicating their relevant experience and recent track record

a proposal, on not more than 2 sides A4, that responds to  the brief and indicates how you might undertake it

a fully costed quotation

6.2 The completed expression of interest should be sent by email to Jamie Spence by no later than 5pm on Monday 16th October 2017.

Email to: jamie.biglocal@yahoo.com

6.3 WBBL will aim to shortlist submissions during w/c 16th October 2017 and meet with shortlisted respondents by appointment during w/c 30th October 2017.

7.      Further information

7.1 Whitley Bay Big Local’s website

7.2 Local Trust and the Big Local national programme

7.3 Whitley Bay Big Local Plans and Map


Published in March 2018