Stockton Waterfront urban park
The latest design for Stockton Waterfront urban park shows exciting events spaces, unique play areas for all ages, heritage influences and opportunities for pop-up concessions.
The design shows how the concept masterplan has been developed to create a transformational public space for residents and visitors of Stockton-on-Tees.
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Key features of the urban park
The concept masterplan has been developed into an iconic, nationally recognisable new public space for residents and visitors of Stockton-on-Tees.
Key features of the park are:
A large, 55 metre land bridge structure will allow people to walk from the High Street to the riverside uninterrupted. This will include the narrowing and tunnelling of Riverside Road. The land bridge will be anchored to the existing Millennium footbridge.
An oval lawn will provide a large flexible space where a range of different events can be hosted, building on Stockton's reputation of hosting large scale events. The space is also an accessible, attractive and welcoming place to be on a day-to-day basis.
The impressive amphitheatre provides a large, terraced area on the riverside, using the six-metre level change to create curved seating terraces that focus on a central stage area located on the riverside. An accessible ramp route is also integrated between terraces, along with planting and water features.
'Play on the way' equipment and heritage features will also be located close to the amphitheatre.
Finkle Square will also provide a place for additional markets or events, aside from Stockton's traditional outdoor market.
Finkle Square will be the main arrival point from the centre of the High Street.
It's location close to Finkle Street will reflect its character and combine the urban park with existing streetscape and will include a more intimate setting. The square includes seating, heritage interpretation and further space and services for hosting events.
There will be three play areas across the urban park.
The focal point of the park will be a large play area with a wide range of play equipment and features. It has been influenced by the previous industrial heritage of the site, with two timber towers connected with walkways with wheelchair accessible elements. There are also a variety of features to make the play space as accessible as possible.
There will be smaller 'totter trails' for younger children as well as a water play extension and a swing structure allowing children to interact and play with friends in the large play park.
Children will be taken on a journey of discovery throughout the wider park with 'play on the way' features including a large six metre slide down the amphitheatre, making the most of the descent between High Street and riverside.
Large swings, hammocks and boulders will also form another play area on the riverside for older children.
The layout of the park takes influence from the linear burgage plots and historic connections between the working river and High Street. People will be taken on a journey of discovery and connecting event spaces, art, culture and play.
The design shows how the history of the town centre will be integrated into the spaces, such as creative writing, text and illustrations onto floor and wall surfaces. They also will showcase the lives of people that have shaped the site over the years.
The fine detail of artistic features, historical elements and references alongside other points of interest and activity form a key part of the next stage of detailed design for the site
Shelters and public toilets
Five shelters will be provided in the development. They will allow visitors to shelter from the elements and encourage families to visit and stay longer but will also incorporate plug and play facilities to enable pop up food and beverage offers.
The design provides a toilet block containing two accessible and two ambulant toilets within the heart of the park and within close proximity to the play areas.
Plants and gardens will be an attraction in their own right in the park. Planting will offer strong displays during the summer months with seasonal variation.
Welcome and attractive lighting will feature throughout the urban park. New lighting will consider linkage to the river, bridges and High Street and allow colour change for themes or events.
Let's Talk About Our Towns public consultation 2020
The public were asked for views in the 'Let's Talk About Our Towns' consultation in an opportunity to change the town.
A public consultation in 2019 about the future of Stockton Town Centre found:
- strong public support for putting the Castlegate Shopping Centre site to a different use
- public support for demolishing Castlegate Centre and Swallow Hotel
- support for making the most of the town's riverside setting
- broad support for a mixed-use approach to a redevelopment, including parks and gardens, events spaces and activities for younger people
Inital concept design 2021
The initial concept design was developed to show:
- an urban park with pleasant green spaces
- a land bridge structure will span a section of riverside road to provide uninterrupted access from the High Street to the river
- public artwork opportunities
- new central library and customer service centre
- main retail offer focussed on Wellington Square, the market and the north end of the High Street
Public engagement 2022
Responses from public engagement in summer 2022 suggested the below were of importance to include in the development:
- spaces for events and performances
- references to Stockton's heritage
- spaces to sit and relax with walks and trails
- opportunities for pop-up food and drink outlets
- areas that cater for young people
- sport and leisure opportunities
Construction of the urban park is underway and will take place in a number of phases.
The first phase will include the realignment and narrowing of Riverside Road including the construction of a 55m land bridge structure, and extension of the existing Millennium footbridge.
Phase two will include paving elements for the oval lawn, taking the park over the top of the highway, construction of new gardens and installation of the play areas.
In the final phase, the construction of the amphitheatre will link the High Street to the riverside, providing an impressive events space.