Plans to open a new Stack inside a Tyneside landmark have taken a key step towards becoming a reality.

Councillors have granted a licence for the popular food and drink venue to open inside Whitley Bay’s historic Empress Ballroom, which was originally part of the coastal town’s famous Spanish City.

A multi-million pound transformation of the former dance hall still requires the approval of North Tyneside planning chiefs before it can go ahead, but the proposal cleared one hurdle on Monday with the approval of its operating licence.

Read more: Whitley Bay STACK alcohol licence up for council decision

The latest venture from Newcastle leisure company Danieli Group follows on from the now-closed original Stack in Newcastle city centre and one in Seaburn, though unlike those the Whitley Bay version will be located inside an existing building rather than being constructed out of shipping containers.

There are also plans for a number of other Stacks – including a permanent Newcastle city centre site in Worswick Street and a proposed fanzone outside St James’ Park, as well as one in the former Marks and Spencer store in Durham city centre.

Members of North Tyneside Council’s licensing sub-committee were told on Tuesday that the redevelopment of the site, which dates back to 1910, would cost up to £4m and could create around 140 new jobs when complete.

The new venue would have eight street food stalls and four bars located around a central plaza area, with the total capacity expected to be around 1,400 people, while the plans also include opening a new roof terrace.

Local councillor John O’Shea said the development would be “significant benefits” to Whitley Bay and that refusing to grant its alcohol licence would “jeopardise the viability of the whole development”.

He added: “I am quite confident in my own view that this will be a well-run entertainment centre and so I am supporting it.”

Spanish City NE Ltd, which operates the development’s restaurants including Trenchers and 1910, had objected to Stack’s licence being granted – claiming that it would “inevitably” subject their customers to noise nuisance and increase crime in the area.

They told the council: “Spanish City, which is grade II listed, was built in 1910 and the Empress Ballroom in 1920. Neither were constructed with [the] applicant’s intended type of use in mind and, as a consequence, there is insufficient attenuation designed into the buildings. Substantial work would need to be undertaken to prevent noise escape and we see no evidence of this in either the application or the plan.”

Meanwhile, one local resident alleged that the new venue could be a  “honeypot for antisocial behaviour much like Cullercoats beach” and raised particular concerns about the roof terrace overlooking a nursery playground.

But barrister Charles Holland, representing Stack, told the committee that there was “no evidence that it will cause crime and disorder” and that the worries about noise would constitute a private dispute between the various operators in the Spanish City as opposed to a public nuisance.

Read more:

Addressing the resident’s objections, Mr Holland said: “There is simply no evidence, expert or otherwise, for the fears that are being expressed by this resident.”

He added: “I am not sure what he thinks Stack is, but it is not a venue that is associated with nudity or lewdness and I would hope that there is no more swearing than in any other place.”

The approved licence will allow the Whitley Bay Stack to serve alcohol from 10am until midnight during the week and until 1am on Fridays and Saturdays.

The outdoor roof terrace could open until 10pm – though that closing time is yet to be agreed with the council and could be brought forward to 9pm.

Originally used as a theatre, the site was converted into the Empress Ballroom in 1920 and then became a bingo hall in the 1960s.