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Stockton Waterfront urban park

CGI images for Stockton Waterfront urban park 2023

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.

A Reserved Matters planning application has been submitted and shows how the concept masterplan has been developed to create a transformational public space for residents and visitors of Stockton-on-Tees.

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

Read a full summary of the consultation responses on our consultations page


Inital concept design 2021

Computer generated imagery of Stockton Waterfront urban park

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:

A plan showing the areas of focus for Stockton Waterfront following public engagement

  1. spaces for events and performances
  2. references to Stockton's heritage
  3. spaces to sit and relax with walks and trails
  4. shelter
  5. opportunities for pop-up food and drink outlets
  6. areas that cater for young people
  7. sport and leisure opportunities

Read a full summary of the public engagement responses


Detailed design 2023

The concept masterplan has been developed into an iconic, nationally recognisable new public space for residents and visitors of Stockton-on-Tees.

The design includes areas and uses for all age ranges to use throughout the day and night and through different seasons of the year. 

Key features of the park are:

Stockton Waterfront CGI

Events Space

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 amphitheatre provides a large, terraced area on the riverside, utilizing the six-metre level change to create a series of 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 feature.

Finkle Square will provide a place for markets or events. It's location close to Finkle Street will reflect its character and will include a more intimate setting with tree planting. The square includes seating, heritage integration and further services for hosting events.


The focal point of the park will be a large play area incorporating a wide range of play equipment and features, including accessible equipment, a natural water play area for young children as well as a junior play area that will help the park standout.

Additional areas focussed on play and activity for older children and teens will add to the recreational offer and appeal of the park, helping to activate spaces over a longer period of time and provide a focus of activity for young adults.

The play areas shown are indicative concepts at this stage as the specific design and equipment in each play area is a key element of the next stage of detailed design for the park


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

A total of 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 to operate.

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.


Welcoming and attractive lighting is critical to the use of Stockton Waterfront throughout the night and dark, winter months as well as day and summertime. New lighting will consider linkage to the river, bridges and High Street and allow colour change for themes or events.


Next steps

Planning will be determined in spring 2023, before the demolition of Castlegate Shopping Centre is complete in the summer. The construction of the urban park will begin upon completion of demolition works.