PLANS to improve access to the River Tees at Yarm are moving forward.
The Environment Agency has completed a range of improvements at Yarm Wharf, including new seating, promenade railings and litter bins.
They are also replacing 30 flood gates around the town to ensure residents and businesses continue to be protected into the future.
And Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council is in discussions with the Environment Agency about taking over the lease of the Wharf once the improvements are completed.
Leader of the Council, Councillor Bob Cook, said: “The River Tees is a huge asset and there is enormous potential for increased leisure and business use.
“We have a long-standing ambition to improve access at various points along the river and as Yarm Wharf offers a particularly attractive location, we are continuing in negotiations to take over the lease from the Environment Agency, which currently owns the site.
“We want to work to maximise opportunities for people to get the most out of the wonderful River Tees and we already have a Yarm-based business, RiverShack, operating a fantastic RiverBoat service between Preston Park and Yarm.
“This can have a real benefit for all concerned, both for leisure users of the river and for businesses in and around Yarm, who will be well served by the increased access and footfall to the area.”
Environment Agency Operations Manager Alan Cadas, added: “This is the first major refurbishment on the wharf in 25 years. The new modern design of hand railing provides improved safety, helping protect people from falling in the river while on the wharf.
“In addition, we are also replacing 30 flood gates in the town, increasing the reliability of the defences for the next 25 years. Our contractor AMCO is progressing with the installation and testing of the new gates at pace, with planned completion in the autumn.”