Major North Marine Park improvement plans approved in multi-million pound project for South Shields
Major plans to revamp a popular South Shields park have been given the green light by planners.
In recent years, South Tyneside Council announced proposals to return North Marine Park back to its original Victorian splendour.
This includes a £3.2million investment into the park with support from a £2.4million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).
The project aims to secure the park for future generations with a raft of improvements and new facilities.
Key elements include creating better links with Littlehaven Promenade and improving the area around the park’s highest point on the Lawe Top.
Other plans include restoring original features -the grotto and grand promenade staircase – alongside improvements to open areas, lighting, seating, footpaths and bowling areas.
A new children’s play park will also be created reflecting the borough’s maritime links and Roman heritage.
On July 15, the council’s Planning Committee gave the go-ahead to the programme of works – despite objections from neighbours.
During consultation, 10 letters were lodged over potential impacts on wildlife, parking, traffic and littering.
Some objectors questioned the justification for the works which, they claimed, could change the character of the park.
While others criticised council plans to host small-scale events at the park – a proposal put on hold earlier this year following a backlash from neighbours over noise concerns.
Beacon and Bents ward councillor, David Francis, also wrote to the committee raising potential issues linked to North Marine Park Lodge.
An email, read to the committee, noted the removal of trees and shrubs and a revamped bandstand area potentially attracting antisocial behaviour.
However, planning officers confirmed no trees would be removed as part of the planning application and said they had plans in place to protect habitats.
This included a ‘habitat regulation assessment’ and action plan to reduce impacts on species.
Planning officers added that park event concerns were a matter for the licensing department, rather than the planning committee.
During discussion, the proposals for North Marine Park were warmly welcomed by the Planning Committee.
Coun Gladys Hobson told the meeting: “We’re very fortunate to have gained lottery funding in order to restore some of our parks to the former glory they deserve.
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“A lot of work has gone into this and I think it’s going to bring the park up to acceptable modern standards.
“I do realise that any change is going to cause concern for residents, but these plans have been produced over a long period of time and there has been a lot of consultation taking place.”
She added: “I believe when the works are completed, the park will add to the nature of our seafront which is the envy of other authorities.”
Approved works for North Marine Park include:
:: Restoration of Grotto and installation of reinterpreted bandstand and performance space area.
:: Reconfiguration of entrance, including refurbishment of existing concrete wall and pillars to Sea Road boundary.
:: Pathway and staircase installation to the Lawe embankment.
:: Installation of children’s play area.
:: Installation of adult trim trail area.
:: Restoration of piers, decorative metal arch, dwarf brick wall with stone coping and railings to Pier Parade
:: Restoration of dwarf brick wall with stone coping and railings to Beacons Entrance.
:: Refurbishment of existing concrete wall and pillars to Sea Road boundary.
:: Installation of a Beacon structure artwork.