THE Spanish City Dome in Whitley Bay - immortalised by the Dire Straits song Tunnel of Love – will benefit from a share of £5m to help revitalise four North-East towns, including Redcar.

Seaside projects in Sunderland, Redcar, North Tyneside and Blyth will receive grants of up to £2.6m from the Coastal Communities fund to use on projects that will deliver almost 4,000 jobs, support 250 new business start-ups and create more than 1,500 apprenticeships.

Redcar will receive almost £581,000 to create a cultural heritage trial and improve landscaping along the seafront, which is the subject of a major regeneration programme.

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The cash will also support more than 100 local businesses and apprenticeship programmes, creating up to 195 jobs.

In North Tyneside, the £1.9m the council has received will help bring its landmark Spanish City Dome back to being a focal point for visitors again with a new public piazza to join the building to the seafront.

And, with the permission of North-East songwriter Mark Knopfler the lyrics of his “Tunnel of Love” song, which immortalised the history of the Spanish City’s amusement park, will be etched into the promenade as part of the landscaping.

The grant will also support the creation of a new heritage centre at North Shields Fish Quay to provide a new visitor attraction, cafe and exhibition space.

Sunderland secured £2m to help restore the 110-year-old, Grade II-listed Roker Pier, starting with work on the lantern house this summer. There will also be infrastructure improvements on the historic seafront area at Seaburn.

The Port of Blyth, in Northumberland, received £500,000 towards a new maritime heritage visitor centre and hub for skills training.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles was making the announcement about the funds today (Monday, February 11) during a visit to Ramsgate in Kent.

He said: “It’s a missed opportunity if we don’t tap into the huge potential our coastal towns have to welcome new industries and diversify their economies so they can become year-round success stories.

“The money will help these towns tap into new business opportunities that will create jobs and boost skills that will benefit the whole community.”

The Northern Echo: VISION FOR FUTURE: An artist's drawing of how Whitley Bay could look

The £16m funds for the coastal communities project across the UK is raised from the Crown Estate’s marine assets and reinvested in coastal areas.

Today’s projects are the second round of this year’s Coastal Communities Fund. Six projects were named last year during the first round of funding.

The Northern Echo: NEW BEGINNING: The vertical pier, part of redevelopment of Redcar seafront