Work officially begins on Stockton's Waterfront project to revitalise town centre

A groundbreaking ceremony took place for Stockton's Waterfront development project on Wednesday 13 December. Credit: Stockton Council

Work has officially begun on a major urban park designed to open up Stockton's riverside and town centre.

The Waterfront development, which will be three times the size of Trafalgar Square when fully built, will feature an urban park, children's play area and public spaces and will connect the town's high street with the River Tees.

The project has been funded by a combination of Stockton Council's own capital, a £20million investment from the Tees Valley Combined Authority and £16.5million from the Government’s Future High Streets Fund.

The park will be built on the site of the former Castlegate Shopping Centre and Swallow Hotel. A groundbreaking ceremony took place on Wednesday 13 December.

The development will stand on the site of the former Castlegate Shopping Centre. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Councillor Nigel Cooke, cabinet member for regeneration and housing at Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council, said: “This is such an exciting time for Stockton and I’m very pleased we can finally say that work on the build of this fantastic urban park is underway.

“Where we are standing is set to be an iconic, nationally recognisable new public space for the borough’s residents and visitors and will set the scene for our world-class events programme in the future. There’ll be something for everyone as they head through the different areas of the park.

“It’s a brilliant day to be a part of because we’ve been on a real journey across our six town centres and projects like this will be a catalyst for change, investment and external growth.”

Construction will take place in several phases, before its expected opening in 2026. The first phase will include the realignment and narrowing of Riverside Road including the construction of a 55metre land bridge structure, and extension of the existing Millennium Footbridge.

A children's playpark will be part of the waterfront development. Credit: Stockton Council

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 new play areas.

In the final phase, the construction of a large-scale amphitheatre will link the High Street to the riverside and provide an impressive event space.

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “It is fantastic to see work starting on this project, which is one of the biggest transformations that Stockton has ever seen and will create a town centre that people deserve.

“We want our town centres to be vibrant places for families to relax and this new public space will drive visitors to Stockton.

“This will help support the superb businesses already in Stockton and encourage more shops, cafes and restaurants to open for people to visit.”

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