Newbiggin Slipway Improvement Works

Update 6 - Opening Ceremony (NCC report)

Improvement works to Newbiggin Promenade are complete. 

The work was focused on improving access along the promenade by levelling off the slipway where it crosses the promenade.

The previous slipway was steep and caused accessibility issues for promenade users, particularly for those with limited mobility, wheelchair users and people with prams.  

While on site, an extensive beach reprofiling exercise was undertaken and special fencing was installed to slow the migration of sand to the north end of the bay. 

The work got underway last October and has been completed on schedule, ahead of the Easter holidays. 

County Councillor John Riddle, Cabinet Member for Local Services, said: “We’re pleased to have got this work done as we know how popular the promenade is for both local people and visitors. 

“The slipway is also of critical importance for the RNLI and well used by local boat owners, and the work has been well received. 

“These works to make the promenade more accessible for all have been completed well ahead of the Easter holidays and hopefully will encourage even more people to visit this beautiful stretch of beach.” 

Newbiggin Central and East County Councillor Liz Simpson said: “I am so pleased I put the wheels in motion for this to happen, it has made the lifeboat ramp a safer place for residents and visitors to cross.  I would like to thank the officers for taking this forward and the administration for agreeing to it.” 

Newbiggin Town Council Mayor Councillor Louise Spratt added: “This slipway has been needed for some time to ensure the safety of our residents and tourists who use the promenade.  

“Taking this factor into consideration, the Town Council agreed a contribution of £45,000 towards this project, and a further £16,000 of section 106 monies. 

"It is great to see it finished and being well used. I would like to thank all those who were involved in getting the project started and for ensuring the work was completed on time and up to a high standard – a great example of organisations working together in partnership”. 

John Bryan,Lifeboat Operations Manager, said: “On behalf of Newbiggin RNLI I would like to thank both BAM and the County Council for the manner in which the works on the slipway were conducted. 

“Communication and co-operation between ourselves and BAM was excellent so that we  never had to put the boat off service at any time as the work progressed. 

“I’d like especially to thank both Jonny Purvis, the site agent and Lenny Tyrer the senior general foreman for both their professionalism and their efforts in ensuring that the work did not hamper our operational capability.” 

Update 5  - 15th March 2022

With the works now completed the contractor has wasted no time in clearing the site with only a few minor matters to deal with. 

Update 4 - 10th January 2022

Some weather issues did cause delays during the first phase of the works but by Christmas Eve  the east side or lifeboat slipway was opened which enable the lifeboat to relocate back into the boathouse.

The focus with work resuming today was digging out the western promenade ramp ready for the formwork and concrete construction to begin on the west side.

Update 3 - 27 November 2021

Good progress continues to be made on the works with some of the first site pours of concrete now completed at the existing slipway toe. This concrete operation provides the foundation for the main slipway concrete operations and the robust support system needed for the temporary shuttering.

The existing slipway has undergone extensive scabbling  using a machine mounted scabbling unit. The scabbling roughens up the existing smooth concrete surface to promote a better bond with the new overlaid structural concrete slabs.

An extensive steel shuttering system complete with supports is now installed on the east side of the slipway ready for the main concrete pours to get underway in the coming week.

The lifeboat and tractor is now relocated to the west side of the boathouse whilst this next phase of the works takes place.

Storm ARWEN hit the works earlier today causing limited damage to security fencing and barriers that have since been reinstated.

Update 2 - 11 November 2021

Work on the scheme is progressing well with further investigations on the existing slipway extents whilst maintaining access for the lifeboat at all times. Extensive temporary fencing is now on site with access restrictions and diversions on the promenade.

On the east side of the slipway the existing wooden groyne has been removed along with redundant edge wall and the 1940's retainer rail which was designed to stop the lifeboat coming off the edge of the slipway during launching particularly when rough seas were running.

Preparations are also well in hand for the lifeboat temporary compound with electrical and security works in the next few days.

Trial holes at the slipway toe

Newbiggin Slipway improvement works 

11 Oct 2021

Improvement works to the Newbiggin slipway are getting underway in late October. 

The work will focus on the slipway which cuts through the promenade and will start on October 25th and due for completion in March 2022. 

The current slipway is fairly steep and can cause accessibility issues for promenade users, particularly for those with limited mobility, wheelchair users and people with prams.  

The project will involve reprofiling the slipway and levelling it off where it crosses the promenade. While on site, engineers will also be carrying out some improvement works to the beach, moving sand and adding in fencing to help control the movement of the sand. 

County Councillor John Riddle, Cabinet Member for Local Services, said: “The promenade is an extremely popular attraction, both for locals and visitors, but the slipway in its current design can cause issues. 

“I was keen to sign off these works from our contingency fund after taking on board the safety concerns raised, particularly around mobility scooters crossing. 

“These works will make the promenade more accessible for all, as well as making Newbiggin an even more attractive seaside destination. We’re also taking the opportunity to carry out work on the beach itself while contractors are on site.” 

Newbiggin Central and East County Councillor Liz Simpson said: “I’m very pleased this is now happening as I initiated the first meeting about the ramp and beach management plan after listening to concerns from residents and visitors about crossing the slipway.   

“Officers from County Council have worked hard to bring this project about which will make crossing the ramp safer for all users.” 

A spokesperson for Newbiggin Town Council added: “‘Newbiggin by the Sea Town Council is pleased to work in partnership with Northumberland County Council on this project and have provided significant financial support to see the reprofiling of the slipway come to fruition. 

“The impact of the work will be massive in improving the accessibility of the promenade and bay for all of its users – so that they will continue to enjoy safe visits to our magnificent bay for many years to come." 

Church Point Car Park will also be partly closed during the works to act as a temporary storage yard and site accommodation for the contractor as well as a temporary boat yard for existing slipway users. 

The RNLI will continue to use the slipway during construction and will be closely liaising with the contractor to ensure operations continue as normal. 

During the project the promenade will be closed between the access road next to the car park (Pant Road) and Vernon Place. Access to the beach will still be possible via the public slipway at Pant Road and from the Vernon Place steps. An accessible diversion will also be in place along the High Street.