Visualisation of the North Marine Park grand staircase
South Tyneside Council has appointed a contractor to deliver a multi-million-pound restoration project.
Esh Construction has been awarded the contract for the £3.2m restoration of the historic North Marine Park on South Shields’ seafront, following a competitive tender process.
Work will start later this summer to return the park to its original Victorian splendour as well as introducing new features, with support from a £2.4m grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF).
Preliminary works began earlier this year and Esh is expected to begin construction in August, undertaking the work in phases so that the park remains open for visitors.
Cllr John Anglin, lead member for regeneration and economy, said: “This is a real milestone and I’d like to welcome Esh who will be working with us to deliver this exciting project.
“After years of planning, securing funding and developing detailed proposals for the park, our vision for the site is about to start taking shape.
“North Marine Park is a jewel in the borough’s crown and an important part of our cultural heritage.
“For more than a century it has been a favourite spot for local people and visitors and our commitment to restoring it will ensure that this beautiful, calm haven will continue to be enjoyed for generations to come.”
The work, which is expected to take around 12 months, will involve creating better links with Littlehaven Promenade and improving 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.
The project 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 and the grand promenade staircase. Improvements to the park’s open areas, lighting, seating, footpaths and bowling area are also planned.
Ross Markwell, head of business development and Esh Civils North East, said: “It’s great that Esh has been chosen to work alongside South Tyneside Council to help to restore a key part of history within the borough.
“The contract agreement shows the strength of our relationship with the council as well as our commitment to improving the area, and will work alongside our current onsite works at the International Advanced Manufacturing Park.”
Last year the council appointed Jade Ridley as parks officer to deliver an activity plan for the park. Jade will be 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 maintenance of the park as well as to deliver a range of heritage activities and occasional events.
Cllr Anglin added: “North Marine Park was designed to be an asset for the community and redeveloping it and restoring it to its former glory will ensure residents and visitors get the most out of this wonderful facility.”
There are also plans to develop interpretation features and artwork 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.
North and South Marine Parks opened in June 1890. The northern park was created on 7.5 hectares of former ballast hills, with more space dedicated to trees, pathways and shrubbery, providing a more tranquil space than its southern neighbour and offering gentle pastimes such as bowling and petanque.
For further about information the plans to restore North Marine Park visit www.southtyneside.gov.uk/northmarinepark or if you have questions about the project you can email NorthMarine.Park@southtyneside.gov.uk
Anyone interested in joining the Friends of North and South Marine Parks and getting involved in the restoration project can email the group at email@example.com
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