Riverside, Stockton on Tees

Stockton on Tees is a market town in the North East of England with the River Tees flowing through the heart of the area.

Stockton town centre is currently undergoing a £20 million redevelopment, which will result in the area experiencing the greatest degree of physical change for a century with the plans building on the areas major assets, in particular the river corridor, and the transformation of former industrial areas and the town centre also being a key focus.

The goal is to enhance the ambiance and quality of the surroundings, which is reflected in the vision for the regeneration: “To deliver a step change in the quality of place, and use it to help deliver the sustainable economic and social renaissance of Stockton on Tees”.

The transformation of the banks of the River Tees was a significant part of the town centre regeneration scheme, with the aim of drawing visitors and local people to the river as part of their time in the town centre, supporting the areas businesses and housing developments and also encouraging further regeneration on the waterfront.

The challenge was to breathe new life into Stockton’s greatest asset in a sustainable manner, transforming the under-utilised riverside. Lighting was always set to be a part of this transformation but not to the extent of the final solution.

The River Tees is one the areas’ best natural assets. Despite Stockton having an attractive riverside, many people are not taking advantage of the new facilities and developments taking place there.

The vision for the lighting scheme was to create a vibrant and interesting environment rejuvenating an under-utilised area and attracting visitors all year round.

During normal operation the scheme had to complement the surrounds, however, it had to have the versatility to celebrate specific occasions and integrate into the town’s vast programme of popular riverside events from the Stockton International Riverside Festival to the Stockton Triathlon and Stockton Cycling Festival.

This requirement for a vibrant and flexible lighting installation lead to LED as an obvious choice, the number of events utilising the area also pointed to the use of colour being appropriate.

We developed a solution which linked two very architecturally different structures, with the flexibility to provide a clean static lighting solution to a vibrant public area pulsating in time with a moden music event.

The programming of the scheme has been developed in partnership between the conditioning company, the lighting designer and Stockton Borough Council.

It was also important that the design of the lighting scheme reflected the flow of the river and carried the eye along the riverside. The design uses light and movement to reflect the energy of the water.

The versatility of the scheme was demonstrated not long after the switch on with the programme altered to celebrate an Olympic gold medal winner returning to her home town of Stockton. The scheme was programmed to chase red, white and blue before changing to gold in celebration.