Lights are all right for big switch-on

SHINING BRIGHT ... Coun Audrey McMillan, Balfour Beattys Brian Hunter and Light It supervisor Andy Grainger.

SHINING BRIGHT ... Coun Audrey McMillan, Balfour Beattys Brian Hunter and Light It supervisor Andy Grainger.

ALL eyes are on the latest arrivals to South Shields’s coastline as the final touches are made to two landmark pieces of art.

Lighting tests on specially commissioned artworks Eye and Sail took place ahead of the official launch of the redeveloped Littlehaven Promenade and Seawall on Saturday.

The artworks, designed by Stephen Broadbent, have been installed as part of the £5m renewal project, along with a new promenade and sea defence scheme along a 500-metre stretch between the South Groyne and the River Tyne’s South Pier.

The Eye and the Sail sculptures are lit with controllable floodlights, and have a range of colours for different occasions.

The hi-tech lighting is programmed from a central control unit, meaning it can be customised for special events and dimmed to save money during quiet periods.

Coun Audrey McMillan said: “We are committed, not just to regeneration, but also quality design and construction, and this scheme is a perfect example.

“The artworks, promenade and nearby Haven Point are fantastic additions to the area and show the scale of the council’s ambition.

“Stephen Broadbent’s artworks will be an important part of the landscape for years to come, and Balfour Beatty’s decorative lighting makes them a truly impressive sight.

“From the outset, we wanted to create more than just a seawall. We wanted to make Littlehaven a place to enjoy a stroll and take in the views at any time of day and at any point in the year.

“We have had a lot of positive comments, and I think people will be even more impressed when they see the lighting.”

A carnival-style day of activities for all ages will officially launch the new promenade on Saturday, starting from about 2pm, and set to feature live music and a firework display in the evening.

A newly renovated car park at Littlehaven has opened ahead of the official launch day.

Harbour Drive South car park holds almost 150 cars, 12 coach spaces and six dedicated disabled bays in the car park.

It has been constructed behind the new sea defence with the parking area being raised as part of the works.

The improvements will significantly reduce the possibility of the car park flooding during extreme weather.

The Littlehaven Promenade and Seawall project received funding from South Tyneside Council, the Environment Agency and Northumbrian Water.

Coun John Wood, a Beacon and Bents ward member for South Tyneside Council, said: “The reopening of the car park is great news for residents, businesses and visitors to South Shields.

“It will provide a valuable resource for people looking to stay in South Shields to shop, work or meet up with friends and family.

“We hope people make the most of this facility, as the new Littlehaven Promenade is a fantastic addition to the borough and a wonderful part of the town’s regeneration programme.”

n See tomorrow’s Gazette for a full timetable of events for Saturday’s official opening of the promenade and seawall

Twitter: @Monica_Turnbull




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