Grotto, grand promenade and Roman-themed play area on the way as work set to start on £3.2million revamp of North Marine Park in South Shields

An image of how the grand staircase will look following restoration work.
An image of how the grand staircase will look following restoration work.

Work is set to start on returning a historic seafront park back to its former Victorian glory.

The multi-million pound revamp of North Marine Park, South Shields, is being carried out by South Tyneside Council, supported with a £2.4 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

Parks Officer Jade Ridley, with Coun Alan Kerr, and Friends of the Marine Park's Christine Calvert, Patricia Stephenson, and David Barber, in the North Marine Park.

Parks Officer Jade Ridley, with Coun Alan Kerr, and Friends of the Marine Park's Christine Calvert, Patricia Stephenson, and David Barber, in the North Marine Park.

Preliminary work is expected to start on site early this year as part of the £3.2million scheme, with contractors expected to begin the construction in the summer - undertaking the work in phases so that the park remains open for visitors.

New parks officer Jade Ridley has been appointed to oversee the revamp.

She 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.

Coun Alan Kerr, deputy leader of South Tyneside Council, with responsibility for culture and leisure, said: “The restoration of North Marine Park is such a huge undertaking. After years in the planning, securing funding and developing detailed proposals for park, we can’t wait to see our vision for the site starting to become a reality in 2019.

The restoration will ensure the park’s heritage is retained while leaving a legacy for future generations to enjoy.

Coun Alan Kerr

“Local people will get the opportunity to work with Jade and the Friends’ group to get involved in the project.

“The park is an important part of our cultural heritage. It is also the perfect place to relax, take a walk and enjoy panoramic views of our stunning coastline from the heights of the Lawe Top.

“The restoration will ensure the park’s heritage is retained while leaving a legacy for future generations to enjoy.”

Key elements of the project include creating better links with Littlehaven Promenade and improving the area around the Lawe Top - the park’s highest point.

The plans also include 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.

The main contractor expected to be appointed over the coming months.

The park will remain open as the construction work is phased and is expected to take around 12 months to complete.

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.

South Marine Park has previously undergone a £5million restoration, thanks to support from National Lottery players, through the Heritage Lottery Fund.

For information on the plans visit www.southtyneside.gov.uk/northmarinepark

Anyone interested in joining the Friends of North and South Marine Parks and getting involved in the restoration project can email the group at friendsoftheparksouthshields@yahoo.com