Redcar's £30m seafront vision

Published: 3rd Jul 2009

Please note this is an archived Press Release

Redcar's new tower

FOLLOWING an international design competition, one of the region's most ambitious seafront regeneration plans was unveiled today (3 July) which will transform Redcar seafront and create the first-ever 80ft 'vertical pier' on this stretch of coast.

A total of £30m is planned to be invested in the seafront defences and to create a unique and vibrant promenade which will attract visitors with a network of beautifully designed public spaces incorporating water cascades, sunshine traps, performance space and sheltered seating from which to view the towns distinctive seascape.

The winning design team led by Harrogate-based landscape architects Smeeden Foreman working in collaboration with Seven Architecture, Arup and Davis Langdon, aims to bring characteristics of the beach up onto the promenade, using textures, colours, shapes and sights from the seafront in seating, paving and the ribbons of a wave canopy stretching along the coastline.

Cllr Sheelagh Clarke, deputy leader and Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Tourism, Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council said: "Everyone who lives in Redcar & Cleveland loves our seafront and would welcome the opportunity to return to its heyday, where families flocked here for a great day out. The area has looked tired for a number of years and our plans will put our seafront back on the tourism map and undoubtedly attract visitors both old and new. Our vision is deliberately ambitious because we want to stand out from the crowd and show people Redcar is a fantastic town and the seafront is second to none, and that once you have come you will always remember it."

The Environment Agency is currently progressing funding for this sea defence project which will strengthen the town's protection from flooding and erosion, as well as creating an interesting seaside experience. The plans will also regenerate the whole seafront and boost its local economy, helping to provide new jobs.

Paul Stainer from the Environment Agency said: "This is a fantastic opportunity to improve the seafront at Redcar and strengthen the sea defences at the same time. By working together, Redcar has plans for its promenade and sea defences which will help to both protect and attract people for many decades to come."

One North East also contributed to the project, David Cramond, director of capital development at One North East, said: "Plans for the creation of a vertical pier, which will become the focal point of the area, are certainly exciting and will help to recreate the distinctive coastline Redcar enjoyed in years gone by."

Kate Curtis from Smeeden Foreman said: "We wanted to create a design which drew on the existing assets and history of the town as well as capitalising on the amazing views. From the industrial landscape to the north to the steady flow of ships on the horizon and the beautiful expanse of sand, Redcar offers a rich seaside experience. Our inspiration came from all of these factors and we also used the different elements of the beach such as the water, sand and rocks to shape the design."

An exhibition of the designs will be open to the public from Saturday, 4 July 10am for the whole of next week in a marquee on the Redcar seafront opposite Marks and Spencers.

The concept for the revitalised seafront has three distinct zones; focus, fun and nature. For the 'focus zone', the vertical pier designed with Seven Architecture will be the centre point of a new performance space with a 360° viewing platform. The building is planned to be a beacon to place Redcar on the landscape from the sea and surrounding area but also to be a practical tourist and creative industries resource with the potential for a seaside shop, café and exhibition space. The tower will be a beacon for the seafront and the town's wider regeneration.

In the 'fun zone' of the promenade families will be able to enjoy water play areas which could be used all year round, not just in the summer, and which will complement other entertainment on the beach front.

A 'nature zone' is also included complementing the special environmental features on the beach at the eastern end of the scheme closest to the Stray. Here visitors on the esplanade will be able to enjoy a quieter experience with the design changing with the landscape to reflect the local Scars rock area which is a site of special scientific interest

At night the scheme will be illuminated by an undulating light strip incorporated into the canopies and a section of the beach will be used as a canvas on which to project a variety of images.

The public of Redcar & Cleveland played a major part in the proposed design of the new seafront with two consultations taking place last year at which over 7,000 people gave their opinion on what they wanted to see on their seafront. One of the consultations was specifically based on five shortlisted design concepts and the successful Smeeden Foreman team proposals were ranked highly on all criteria.

Timescales for the construction of the new promenade and vertical pier and the other plans are that a detailed design will be developed over the next six months with work expected to begin on site next summer, 2010, following the approval of the funding package.

It is also planned that Redcar & Clevelands seafront will also benefit from an imaginative series of complementary regeneration proposals including cultural events, a creative industries hub, and facilities to attract digital and arts entrepreneurs which are planned over the next two three years.

The international design competition was organised by the Royal Institute of British Architects.

The Environment Agency is hoping to secure £25m towards the construction of Redcar sea defences with the remaining £5m of funding needed for the promenade coming from a range of other sources.

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