Restoration underway for South Tyneside park

A project to restore a South Tyneside park to its former glory is underway.

Work has begun on the multi-million pound restoration of North Marine Park, on South Shields’ seafront.

The £3.2m scheme will reinstate some of the historic park’s original Victorian features as well as introducing new elements.

The work, which will be carried out by Esh Construction, will be undertaken in phases, meaning the park can remain open to vistors.

The first phase will focus on restoration of the Grand Promenade staircase and surrounding area, including new paths, terrace, landscaping and street lighting. This will involve major earthworks to regrade the existing steep embankment. While this work is ongoing, footpaths in the vicinity will be closed.

Cllr John Anglin, lead member for regeneration and economy, said: “It’s exciting to see this project get underway and activity beginning on site. It’s a real milestone because it’s the culmination of years of planning and securing funding. 

“North Marine Park is already one of the Borough’s most beautiful assets and this restoration work will further enhance its splendour.

“Its original Victorian features will be brought back to life and a number of new additions, such as a themed play area, will ensure this park remains a favourite with residents and visitors for future generations, as it has been for over a century.”

The project, which is expected to take around 12 months, will create better links with Littlehaven Promenade and improve the area around the Lawe Top, which as the park’s highest point, acts as an incredible viewing platform for the coastline, harbour and mouth of the river.

It will also involve creating a new themed play area, which will reflect the Borough’s maritime links and Roman heritage, and restoring the park’s original features such as the grotto. Improvements to the park’s open areas, lighting, seating, footpaths and bowling area are also planned.

The project has been supported with a £2.4m grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF).

Parks Officer Jade Ridley, who was appointed by the Council last year, will deliver an activity plan for the park. Jade is working closely with the project team, Friends of North and South Marine parks, local schoolchildren and the wider community to ensure the best use and to deliver a range of heritage activities and occasional events.  

Cllr Anglin added: “North Marine Park was designed with the local community in mind so we want them to love and value it as much as previous generations have.”

There are also plans to develop interpretation features and art work installations at the performance area, grotto and site of the former Victorian pilot lookout, Trinity Towers, as well as create an event programme and ‘pay to play’ activities such as pitch and putt and bowling.

Stephen McClean, contracts manager at Esh Civils, said: “It’s great to be appointed by South Tyneside Council to deliver this fantastic scheme, which is a fantastic investment for the area.

“We are currently working with the local community providing a range of social value initiatives such as STEM sessions, safety talks and employability sessions in local schools whilst on site delivering this project.”

Adam Beach
Article by Adam Beach
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