Marsden Bay steps project 'set to be complete within weeks'

Work to improve access to a coastal beauty spot in South Tyneside is expected to be completed next month, according to council officers.

Friday, 15th October 2021, 5:37 pm
South Tyneside Council Cllr Ernest Gibson with ESH Construction contract manager Stephen McClean and project manager Steve Marshall at site of new staircase to access Marsden Beach.

Construction began in September on the next phase of works to the Redwell access at Marsden Bay, involving the construction of new timber and steel stairs to provide a safe and sustainable access to the site.

The first phase of work was completed in October last year and involved demolishing the lower section of the original concrete Redwell steps and old lifeguard and canoe store buildings at the site.

This was due to the impact of ongoing natural erosion affecting their stability.

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The old Redwell Steps at Marsden Bay, South Shields.

An update on the works were provided at the latest South Tyneside East Shields and Whitburn Community Area Forum (CAF) on Thursday (October 14).

Michelle Hogg, project manager, from the environmental protection team at the council, said they expect to finish on site in “early November”.

She said: “A lot of people might think that sounds quite quickly because that’s only a few weeks away, but the structure itself is being pre-fabricated off site, and that work is ongoing.”

After the demolition work was completed last year, the site had to be left over the winter, while over the summer they were not able to do any work because of breeding birds.

A 3D model of the steps.

A secure compound is now set up at the site and signage is in place to inform pedestrians, with temporary works in place allowing plant and personnel access to site, and piling works for the lower landing underway.

This comes after planning approval on a revised design layout was received August 2021

Councillors on the CAF praised the improvement scheme and the benefits it will have for residents visiting the area.

Councillor Tracey Dixon, leader of South Tyneside Council, said: “I think this is an absolutely fantastic scheme and credit to everybody involved in actually getting all the partners on board. I look forward to its completion.”

Cllr Alexander Donaldson, chairperson of the CAF, said: “I don’t think it’s an easy job given the gradient and the steps, it’s good that it’s getting done.”

The expected lifetime of the new steps is “25 plus” years, with the potential for further work on the lower platform if needed, depending on environmental factors.

At the meeting it was also noted that for disabled users wanting to visit the bay, there is access at the privately owned Marsden Grotto.

The £289,000 scheme to build the steps forms part of the wider £575,000 Marsden Bay Improvement Project.

This comes from a partnership between South Tyneside Council and the National Trust and is part funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund under the SeaScapes project.

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