A STROLL along South Shields seafront now promises to be an illuminating experience.
The new Littlehaven Promenade and Seawall boasts colourful lighting and eye-catching artwork and will be open to the public from next week.
It is part of the £5m Littlehaven Seawall Project that includes a new 500m curved seawall constructed to improve flood defences and a new coastal park.
Work is still going on ahead of an official opening ceremony in the spring, but visitors to the seafront will be able to take in two new pieces of artwork produced by Stephen Broadbent, the ‘Eye’ and ‘Sail’.
The ‘Eye’ is located within the new park and affords stunning coastal views of the pier, while the ‘Sail’is located at the southern end of the promenade near Haven Point.
The project, funded by South Tyneside Council, the Environment Agency and Northumbrian Water, was designed to prevent regular flooding to the promenade and the car parks behind it.
Now, as the final touches are being made, council representatives are keen to let people have a sneak peek of the new lit-up walkway.
Coun Audrey McMillan, the vice chairman of the council’s foreshore steering group, said: “It’s worth remembering that it took almost six years for us to be able to secure the funding for this project but I think everybody will agree that it has certainly been worth the wait.
“I think South Tynesiders and visitors are going to be pleasantly surprised once they see the promenade all lit up in its full glory.
“It’s an absolutely beautiful walk along the seafront, and the best thing is it’s away from the main road so its perfectly safe for young families to enjoy.”
Stephen Broadbent’s artworks take inspiration from the Tyne’s river traffic, and how historically people would look out from the shore as they waited for their loved ones to return from sea.
The project also includes stepped access on to Littlehaven beach from the new seawall.
Simon Wilson, senior environmental officer for the council, said: “The new lights are going to look really eye-catching.
“Underneath the traditional lights there are little white boxes which will project various colours down on to the promenade. We can control the colours, the speed with which they flash and the seqences.
“It will give visitors a whole new experience walking along the promenade.”