Saltburn-by-the-Sea: £600,000 to be spent improving popular Yorkshire beach in bid to boost visitors

A total of £600,000 has been allocated to be spent on much-needed improvements in Saltburn.

Redcar and Cleveland Council’s cabinet recently approved the allocation which was made available from the Tees Valley Combined Authority in order to “enhance the visitor experience”. However a report noted that “it is likely the current budget envelope will not be sufficient to deliver all of the works that have been identified”.

A masterplan being drawn up anticipates a range of improvements being delivered across the foreshore area of the town with high priority items being addressed this year. These include the replacement and refurbishment of the low concrete railings that run along Marine Parade and the lookout area over the sea.

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Large sections of the rail have fallen into disrepair and been patched up sometimes using materials said to be ‘inappropriate’ for the harsh marine environment. New steel rails and posts, which will be “heritage focused” in their design, will be coated with an engineering grade polyurethane material which does not rust and offers maximum protection to chemical corrosion and the elements.


The main areas targeted for works under the masterplan will be:

- The main Promenade and Marine Parade and the footpaths and bankside that link the two

- Hazel Grove, where picnic tables could be added

- The Pier Car Park area

- The Boat Park area and adjoining Promenade

- Saltburn Bank and the Saltburn Road area around Car Nab Car Park

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- The entrance ways to the Valley Gardens, where a project has been restoring the grade II listed Albert Memorial.

The memorial, which had fallen into disrepair, was originally the entrance portico to Barnard Castle’s first railway station, built in 1856, but was later dismantled, transported and reassembled in Saltburn 11 years later at the behest of Henry Pease, a director of the Stockton and Darlington Railway and founder of the Victorian town.

‘Inadequate maintenance provision’

Saltburn councillor Philip Thomson said he was pleased the cabinet had agreed to release the money, but said he regretted the fact that some projects were being paid for with grant funding when they should have been covered by maintenance/revenue expenditure in years gone by.

He said: “There has been inadequate maintenance provision for the town, particularly as it is a major tourist destination. One of the challenges the authority faces is that it has many aspirations, but not the ability to deliver against them in a reasonable timescale. Some of this funding has already been allocated to finishing off the Albert Memorial restoration project, which in itself is years behind its time.”

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Coun Thomson said that while the council wanted to increase visitor numbers, this in turn would add to the pressure on local infrastructure.

“If the infrastructure as it exists is not being maintained, that is a total paradox,” he added.

In 2021/22 1.47 million people visited the seaside resort with the resultant positive economic impact being put at more than £70m. Both figures were lower than those pre-pandemic, but council chiefs anticipate a bounceback to continue with visitor numbers said to be on an “upward trajectory”.

The report for cabinet members said: “Those improvements that deliver a visible uplift in the appearance of the foreshore area are then to be the primary focus, as there will be insufficient funds to deliver everything in the masterplan. It is anticipated that by delivering these elements, the project will have a noticeable and positive impact.

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“Visitor numbers and inward investment may increase at greater levels than at present as a result. If nothing is done, the condition of the foreshore area will continue to deteriorate, which would make it less of an attractive place to visit. This would be harmful to the character and appearance of the conservation area, and the local economy.”

The report said the masterplan being developed captured and responded to feedback from stakeholder groups.

It said: “An option appraisal will explore the feasibility and impact of all the identified schemes, so that those options that provide the biggest and most beneficial positive impacts are prioritised. Elements of the masterplan that are not deliverable at this time will then become the focus of future funding opportunities, as and when they arise.”

Coun Thomson said all of the TVCA money needed to be spent by next March and a “clear focus on delivery” was needed.

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Asked what his wishlist would be for improvements, he said he would like to see money spent on a replacement bridge which previously spanned the beck in the Valley Gardens until it collapsed, while the condition of some footpaths in the area were in dire need of upgrades.

Coun Thomson said steps from Marine Parade to the Lower Promenade needed to be looked at, including one set which was closed off to the public. The safe passage of pedestrians between the Cat Nab car park and the foreshore was also “not in a good place”, he said, suggesting an existing bus stop could be moved to assist traffic flow. A restructuring of the Pier Car Park should also be a high priority, he said.

Coun Thomson conceded there were “equally merited aspirations” which may not be met with existing funding.

He said he continued to be hopeful that the local authority would appoint a manager to oversee the management of the foreshore area, something he raised previously, with a full job description already in place.

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The briefing for cabinet members referred to a House of Lords select committee report published in 2019 which considered how best to regenerate seaside towns and communities and said restoring and enhancing the public realm and cultural heritage assets was of “paramount importance”.

It said seaside towns needed to invest in the buildings and assets that make them unique.