Planning Approved for Stockton Urban Park and Waterfront

Working with Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council, Ryder has revealed ambitious plans that will transform the town centre into a new 2.5ha urban park

Councillors unanimously approved the plans which form part of the £37m regeneration, and which will see the 1970s Castlegate Shopping Centre demolished to make way for a new park with views to the River Tees from the High Street.  A new 50m land bridge will span the narrowed A1305 Riverside Road, enabling the new park to seamlessly spill to the riverside.

The park also includes a cultural ribbon with cultural confetti leading people on a journey of discovery through the park.  A terraced arena, large central lawn and new Finkle Square provides opportunities to host large events.  A play park is located near to the High Street with informal play spread throughout, including climbing boulders and a sheltered area for food and drink vans.  This will all help to encourage people to spend time in the town using the local shops, cafes, bars and restaurants, some of which overlook the new park.

Steve Blacklock, landscape director at Ryder, commented on the importance of reflecting Stockton’s rich heritage in the park, “Historically there were burgage plots located on the site with a strong linear form that formed a connection between the High Street and the river, Finkle Street to the north and the old Castlegate to the south.  It’s also important we bring out some of the rail heritage, a big part of Stockton’s history, and we’ve mapped some of those routes through the park.”

Finkle Street would be pedestrianised under the plans and there would be opportunities for markets with a big marquee in Finkle Square.

“It’s south facing, overlooking the park so we’d like to see cafes, bars, restaurants spilling out on to that space, really animating that frontage,” Steve added.

“The land bridge, which is 50m wide, spills over the road and leads down into the grand amphitheatre which faces down on to the riverside.”

Councillors backed the plans, commenting on the “wow factor” and “European style development”.

The Castlegate shopping centre is currently under demolition with work due to start on the construction of the park in Autumn, and completion planned for 2025.