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Newbiggin beach replenishment project
Welcome to Newbiggin by the Sea
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The project update is written by Richard Martin, RNLI

The Project is now complete and this page will be updated as and when any significant future developments occur.

small coupleBay Update Week Commencing 19th November, 2007

The week will remembered for its particularly unsettled weather conditions with rain on most days some of which was heavy causing the finishing off works to made more difficult.

At the Pant the temporary fencing is now totally removed with the new railings closing off the former ramp position.
At the new play park finishing off continues and the play equipment installation appears complete.

Along at Vernon Place gravel surfacing has been placed in the soft landscaping areas with the concreting operations appearing complete. The base to take the miniature 'Couple' appears to be in place but the installation date is not yet clear.
The new ramp to the east of the 'Cable House' has had the shuttering removed and the handrails are now installed.
Finally along at the 'Horseshoe Steps' the stonework and new planting areas at the top of the stairs is now complete.
The tides lifted this week and the weekend tides covered the new sand area levelling off the many footprints and causing some minor ponding to occur.

Weekly Review – Week Commencing Monday 12th November, 2007

The week was generally dry and bright with some overnight frost. With the daylight becoming less the opportunity to review progress on a daily basis is lost so the weekly review has been followed for the latter part of the works.

This week there has been significant progress on the new play park area with the new fencing almost complete and sand imported for the sand pit. The temporary footpath diversion at this location has also been removed with the new promenade link path tarmaced and the pedestrians diverted onto it. Along at Vernon Place the concreting works are almost complete but the area remains fenced off to the public. Near to the old ‘Cable House’ a new access ramp is being established after the removal of the old concrete steps. Work also continues in building a new stone wall at the top of the ‘Horseshoe Steps’ but this remains incomplete. Finally along the bay frontage soft landscaping works have begun with various shrubs being planted. Rain and strong winds over the weekend heralded a change in the weather but on Sunday two surfers took advantage of the rough sea conditions to enjoy an afternoon of wave riding.

beach floodedSaturday 10th November, 2007

For the first time in many weeks the weather turned against those wishing to partake in external activites today and it was rain which spoilt the morning. There was work going on to remove shutters at Vernon Place and to prepare the stonework at the top of the Horseshoe Steps but before lunch the work stopped due to rain. At least the sea began to fall off but the shoreline was a magnet for many rod fishermen.

Friday 9th November, 2007

Last night I reported the early warnings of a storm surge in the North Sea. In the early hours it was quite evident that the 0300 hours high water was going to be higher than normal as the waves were crashing over the reef well before this time. At first light today the true strength of the sea was seen. The full area of beach had been covered by the sea with areas of water still ponding at a number of places. The reef and indeed the new sand had probably been given a tough test and they had survived. The afternoon tide battering the bay and once again the beach was fully covered by the sea. Two surfers also went out amonst the breakers to test their skills against the angry waves. As for the progress I will update this further on Saturday. If the reef and sand had not been there last night then the outcome may not have been so acceptable.

Thursday 8th November 2007

As the morning broke the wind began to freshen from the north west and by 0900 hours a gale was blowing making work on the front uncomfortable but thankfully this wind swung around and began to ease slightly later. At Vernon Place the final circular east area continues to be put together with shuttering being fixed for some more concrete pours. On the beach a number of machines returned today to carry out a further reprofiling exercise at the lifeboat slipway. As I watch the news tonight the main item is about the Friday's predicted storm surge on the east coast. I hope that the problems cited do not come to fruition and as a sea front resident I'm grateful that our new reef and beach will give us protection from such conditions.

Wednesday 7th November, 2007

With a fine and dry day again today (not complaining!) work on the various facets of the project continued. Darkness on returning home makes an appraisal of the progress difficult however today digging out for tarmac has been done on the upper footpath at the Horseshoe Steps whilst at Vernon Place some of the base course tarmac has been laid to the footpaths.

Tuesday 6th November, 2007

Work continues today at the park and at Vernon Place whilst on the beach the question of the sand CBR continues to be a point for discussion and reflection. Along at the old boat park the wooden laths are are been fixed to the top of the new concrete walls to form seating areas.

Monday 5th November, 2007

After a grey start the week began bright and sunny allowing a number of activities were progressed not least that of the new play park which continues to develop with bright blue play surfaces and various play equipment frames. On the beach the sand backfilling and profiling works were largely completed and at the end of the day Thornton's array of machines were taken away by low loader. As darkness fell the traditional beach bonfire was lit at the north end of the bay with a large number of people gathering to keep warm and enjoy a selection of hot food. Soon a fantastic display of fireworks got nderway at various location along the bay and the distant horizons. 'Couple' were lit up by a light show spectacle as many colours of pyrotechnics poured skyward.

Sunday 4th November, 2007

Unlike many Sundays over the past two months this particular Sunday saw further works on the beach profiling. Two machines were deployed for most of the morning period and were able to complete the new sand veneer placement above the high water mark up to Church Point. By the afternoon it was peace and quiet again but the sun was lost to cloud perhaps acknowledging that forecast unsettled weather was on the way -
well it is November!

beachSaturday 3rd November, 2007

Another half day Saturday and thankfully another one with fine, warm and dry conditions. Apart from work in the former boatyard as well as Vernon Place and the new play park next to the pant the more noticeable work today was occuring on the beach. Here a fleet of machines spent the morning and part of the afternoon reprofiling the beach down from Sandridge. The work entailed the placing of the new sand from earlier deposited stockpiles and spreading the same to give a veneer of this
new sand over the full area.

Friday 2nd November 2007

Another warm and sunny day to enjoy especially for those being lucky enough to be working outside. Along at the old boatyard the timber lining to the back wall continues to be fixed and it must be soon when the safety fence is removed here. Work also progressed on the new play park and at Vernon Place which I will report on next time. However on the beach the regrading of sand east of the lifeboat slipway was started today with a veneer of new sand placed. Finally the old beach ramp continues to be dug out and disposed off into road wagons.

Thursday 1st November, 2007

It was another warm day with above average temps at 15 degrees but with some showers to take the edge of pleasant conditions. As for the work and apart from beach clearing Vernon Place had some shutters fixed to the final circular area ready for concrete perhaps on Friday. Along at the park the new fencing continues to be installed but there was a hitch when the water supply to the Heritage Centre was cut through creating a temporary water feature.

beachWednesday 31st October, 2007

Another fine and warm day no doubt made the work on the seafront not too unpleasant. At Vernon Place the shutters were stripped again and preparation for more concrete work continues. The old beach ramp continues to be broken out and the amount of beach debris is rapidly decreasing. In the new play park the first area to receive the new rubber play surface has been completed.

Tuesday 30th October, 2007

On the beach the clearing up work continues and a ‘pecker’ mounted on the tracked excavator continues to break rocks and pieces of concrete. At Vernon Place another level of shuttering has been fixed and concrete poured to lift the level of this central feature higher. In addition blinding concrete has been placed to the final circular area of this new developing hardscape.

Monday 29th October, 2007

With the clocks changing the opportunity to fully understand the daily progress is almost thwarted but I shall continue to offer a general overview of the site activities. Today at the start of the week the finishing off work to the new pant ramp was carried out whilst the work to break out the old ramp continued. Along at Vernon Place the excavation and establishment of a new circular area (the final part of this jigsaw) has progressed and shuttering to central feature has been removed.

Sunday 28th October, 2007

With a fine and sunny day it was another busy day here with the promenade packed with visitors out for a stroll after the clocks are back to GMT and we have the darker nights!! On the water sailors took advantage of the fresh south west wind to grab a good afternoon of sailing.

surferSaturday 27th October, 2007

The last day of the week and a Saturday half shift. The play park had some more equipment being concreted in today and there was a further pour on the new access ramp. Once again the former beach road was being broken out. With the afternoon came fresher southerly wind and two kite skiers took advantage of the bay and the conditions to give an excellent display of their skills. My good friends Margaret and Derek Hobbs captured this action on camera and I look forward to seeing the results on this site.

Friday 26th October, 2007

A fine but sometimes cloudy day but at least it was dry. There has been some more work in the former boatyard area with timber lining being fixed upon the back retaining wall face. The profile of this lining is to suit the topsoil earth profile. Along at the pant another pour of concrete was placed into the ramp today and in the playpark some of the equipment is being fixed.The work to break out the former beach access road continues.

Thursday 25th October, 2007

As the end of the last full week in October draws to a close further key works are being progressed. For instance at the play park new fencing is being installed whilst on the new pant ramp the first concrete pour is being undertaken. Also at the end of the promenade two new lighting colums have been installed. During the lunchtime the works were interupted when the lifeboat was called out to rescue a dog named Tye trapped on the rocks but that is a story for the Newbiggin Lifeboat website.

Wednesday 21st October, 2007

After a misty cool start the sun did get out but a fresh south east wind brought on choppy sea conditions. At the play park the footpath profiles are clearer and some decorative boulders have been placed. On the new pant ramp the reinforcing is now in for the concrete slab toe beam. Debris on the beach at this location continues to be stockpiled then loaded onto wagons for taking off site.Finally along at Vernon Place the central concrete feature is having the shutters lifted ready for another concrete pour.

Monday 22nd October, 2007

There are never two days the same for weather and that was the case in our village today with cool overcast conditions - what a change in 24 hours. Another working week and the deadlines and targets are ever nearer. In the play park area with filling underway the path edging is being established in the northern sector. Adjacent the play area on the pant the top of the new beach ramp continues to be profiled with stone being placed on top of the former west stairs. Finally along at Vernon Place shuttering is being removed to the central plinth and topsoil which arrived last week is being spread.

Sunday 21st October, 2007

After some early mist Newbiggin enjoyed what could only be described as an 'Indian Summer day'. The good weather brought out hundreds of visitors walking along the promenade or on the beach. Local businesses and local attractions including our Heritage Centre were kept busy until late in the afternoon by those enjoying a late 'summer' day at the seaside.

Saturday 20th October, 2007

A gorgeous sunny day was enjoyed in our region today with exceptional numbers out on the promenade. The half day Saturday saw the washing down of the new beach stairs at the middle shelter. The block paving to the promenade deck level in this area is complete but the tie in works remains outstanding. Some work was also carried out at the former boatyard but the temporary fencing remains in place. Once again wagons were on the pant road today being loaded to take the debris away. As the work finished for the day a large group of people gathered on Church Point, a wedding party and ideal conditions for the photographs of their memorable day showing 'Couple' in the distance. As dusk falls tonight the beach is once again empty for another day but for a lone fisherman and two friends hoping to catch their supper or perhaps they don't like rugby!

Friday 19th October, 2007

A mainly overcast day today becoming brighter later but no rain to disrupt any work. Filling continued at the play park and on the new pant ramp the filling behind the new wall is almost done. The concrete face of the existing sea wall was also cut back today to facilitate a better tie in. Gloss painting is well advanced up to the pant today with every piece of street furniture painted a beautiful seaside blue. On the beach previously tipped debris and contaminated sand is being disposed of by a road wagons. At the top of the Horseshoe Steps a new steel bollard has also been installed today.

Thursday 18th October, 2007

After a cool start it became bright and sunny but yesterday's northerly wind brought some swell onto the shore. Looking firstly at Vernon Place the footpath next to the former site of Carl Brown's shed was filled off today and excavation for a new section of concret wall in the central area was begun. On the play park the filling of the new areas ready to receive a play surface continues.

coupleWednesday 17th October, 2007

Despite a chilly start the day got out fine but the northerly wind kept temperatures pegged back. Another good painting day with undercoating along to the pant area. At the pant the shutters are now off the new wall and the area behind is being bcakfilled / compacted. In the play area the log edging appears almost complete and now ready for the infilling. Along at Vernon Place a new path is being constructed inside of Carl Brown's shed area which abuts the boundary wall of Fairwinds.

Tuesday 16th October, 2007

After a wet night the sun was back with us today and the working areas were soon dried out. On the pant the shutter for the new wall is in place and possibly has had concrete placed here today. As for the play park the log edging is being exyended and the layout for this part of the work is becoming more evident.

Monday 15th October, 2007

The finishing line for te works is near and the concentration of effort is at the north end of the bay. Once again the ideal conditions for painting continue with fine and dry weather for the first part of the day only. Vernon Place continues with more soil and boulder features being placed. Along at the new play park the excavation work appears to be done with the log edging being installed.

Saturday 13th October, 2007

I always enjoy the good weather especially at the weekend, and our region was once again having a lovely day. As for the work the focus appeared to be on the play park with quite a bit of excavation activity as well as the establishment of the site profiles.

At Vernon Place the works were focused at the east end with shuttering stripped and the new footpath in this area becoming more evident.

As the works were coming to a close today the lifeboat was launched to an upturned boat but that story is on another part of the Newbiggin website.

Sunday 14th October, 2007

It was a case of the return of the summer days well at least a one with fine weather. It was very warm and sunny here today (perhaps 17 debgrees!!) which brought hundreds out for a walk along the promenade and the more daring put a toe in the sea - well it is October !! Even 'Couple' did not look out of place in a summer attire.

Friday 12th October, 2007

Despite only limited sunshine the day was nevertheless both dry and warm for the last full work day of the week as we approach the middle of the month. The painters again benefited from these conditions and the painters were not only painting railings today but also the existing promenade light columns. In advance of the painting a blacksmith team is repairing/grinding off rust on the existing promenade railing system in the northern location. The new promenade paving continues at the horseshoe steps with pedestrians diverted today onto the top of the new stairs to allow the promenade deck paving to be safely carried out. Again there has been work in the Vernon Place and Pant ramp area today but the workscope for these areas today has not been ascertained. Finally at the new play park excavation work was being carried out earlier today.

Thursday 11th October, 2007

The work today benefited by the continued mild weather especially so for the painting operations which are in the northern part of the promenade. On the promenade at the new beach stairs the block paving at the top of the stairs is being extended into the main promenade surface which is a welcome substitute to the tarmac. Along at Vernon Place the placing of block kerbs and footpaths continues to the eastern area.

Wednesday 10th October, 2007

Once again it is the middle of the week and thankfully it was a fine and dry day for the operations today. One such operation was the reprofiling of the sand in the vicinity of the new beach stairs which was begun yesterday. The beach is slowly taking shape here but I must air my concern that the Hunkleton Stone is in the process of being buried again as a result of these operations. Similar sand profiling and the removal of seaweed has taken place at the north end of the bay today also.

As for the promenade the gloss painting operation is complete up to the first shelter with undercoating in hand up to Vernon Place. At Vernon Place the establishment of footpath profiles to the eastern area continues with further cutting of the existing access steps. On the lifeboat slipway the jointing exercise also appears completed together with the various concrete repairs. Finally the alterations to the new handrails at the horseshoe steps is also complete with the clean up of the cutting arisings likely over the coming days.

Tuesday 9th October, 2007

The weather was against the workers today with driving rain early on followed by periods of showers. At the pant ramp larger armourstone has been placed upon a geotextile to the seaward face of the new beach ramp. In addition some of the debris stored on the beach has been hauled off site today. At the play park the timber retaining posts are laid out ready to fix and further excavation on this site continues. Finally at Vernon Place the new central steps and the wall at Carl Brown's site have been concreted today.

Monday 8th October, 2007

With the job in the final month or so the pressure is now on to get things finished. Vernon Place is certainly one area where there are daily changes. The work appears well advanced on the west side whilst in the central area shutters have been put in for the new concrete steps. Some other shutters have been put in at the site of Carl Brown's fish shed with a low wall to go in there. Topsoil is now placed in a third of the areas with former beach boulders used here also. Along at the pant the new ramp is also taking shape. A shutter has now been erected for the new promenade wall and smaller armourstone has been placed to the seaward edge of the new beach ramp.

Sunday 7th October, 2007

They say all good things come to an end and that was certainly the case here today with a grey, damp and miserable day. With Newcastle playing at home today the place seemed quieter than of late with the hundreds of gulls making a continual commotion as they scrapped for a number of live baits in the sea.

Saturday 6th October, 2007

The work on this fine and sunny day was focused at Vernon Place although at the pant ramp the roller was actively being used to compact the placed material.

I also noted a change to the female half of ‘Couple’ today. It would appear that our new resident is not happy with her plain dark hair and has added a streak to it! I wonder whether the weather will make her change her mind?

Friday 5th October, 2007

Our continued spell of warm and sunny weather continued which made a day of work at the seaside not a bad scenario. The play park works continues to make good progress with excavation and establishment of the southern boundary ongoing. Adjacent to this on the pant road the filling and profiling exercise is establishing the shape and extent of the new boat access ramp. On the lifeboat slipway the foam jointing strips have been installed with some jointing carried out. Vernon Place has evolved further with some of the ‘decorative’ boulders now placed.

Thursday 4th October, 2007

Yet another fine and sunny day as these favourable conditions continue for our region. On the pant with the eastern demolition complete the surplus rock armour which had been stockpiled on the beach was placed in the large excavation in this area to make up the levels. Along at Vernon Place the establishment of the new footways continues and concrete has been broken out at the top of one of the old staircases.

At the beach stairs a pump was brought along to dry out the excavations for the concrete jointing works. The towing of the pump along the beach was a very laboured exercise this morning with the dumper towing the pump finding it very difficult to traverse the soft sand.

At the former boatyard area the paving works appear almost complete though there will be other work needed around the decorative boulders.

The fine weather has been a bonus for the painters and the painting of all metal railings and street furniture is now complete up to Windsor First School with the ramp in this area awaiting a coat of gloss paint. The work continues north east along the promenade.

Wednesday3rd October, 2007

Due to work commitments today the exact scope of work cannot be commented upon. I did note that work has begun in exposing the concrete joints on the new beach stairs as the standing water has receded, probably thanks to a pump.

Tuesday 22nd October, 2007

Newbiggin enjoyed a beautiful sunny day today with above average temperatures. Apart from the work in progress today, which I’ll update you on in a moment, the day was notable for the funeral of Eleanor Armstrong. Eleanor passed away suddenly at the age of 93. She was one of the last of the Women of Newbiggin, the most determined ladies who used to launch the lifeboat before the days of mechanisation, a group of Ladies who were twice awarded the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) Thanks on Vellum for their efforts in particular difficult rescues, including one overland launch. Newbiggin’s Women are the most decorated group of lifeboat launchers in the whole of the RNLI, a remarkable record which our community is proud of. Anyway standing in the churchyard on the headland I reflected about the great changes in Newbiggin Bay this year and how Eleanor during her last year of her life had been able to see the changes and reminisce about the days of her childhood when there wasn’t even a promenade here.

As for the works the demolition of the eastern part of the pant stairs and back wall seems almost complete today and ready for filling. Along on the lifeboat slipway contractors are today filling the gaps between the concrete slabs with jointing material. Finally along at Vernon Place filling of subsoil has begun at the western end and the new decorative block kerb edging is in place on the western area.

Monday 1st October, 2007

Has summer returned? A question that many would be asking today as our village basked in a very warm day bringing many visitors to the seaside for a day out. One such group was a large number of ramblers from the south of our region who visited the Heritage Centre today and commented on their enjoyable time here in Newbiggin which they will repeat again in the future.

As for the work the boatyard paving continues and advance work for paving from the new beach stairs onto the promenade was also begun today. This will see the removal of a section of tarmac pavement from the promenade to be substituted by some form of decorative paving.

At Vernon Place the block edging to the new footpath network is being installed and shuttering is now in place to the centre of these landscape works in rediness for the concreting of a new retaining wall. Down from Vernon Place on the beach sand has been excavated in order to carry out repairs to the existing sea wall.

Sunday 30th September, 2007

Newbiggin was blessed by another warm and sunny day today. Whilst there was no work taking place the promenade was filled with visitors enjoying a stroll in this late summer sun.

Saturday 29th September, 2007

Another week over and another short working day on the promenade works. At the old boatyard topsoil was being placed whilst the paving and the painting works went on nearby. At the horseshoe steps the remedial works to the lower steps continued whilst at Vernon Place the timber retaining wall works and footpaths continue to evolve.

This morning's tide was the biggest so far since the beach works have been done. The sea did cover the beach but there were no crashing waves at all on the promenade. The new sand is soft in places something, which occurs in sand, and a casualty of this was one of the contractor's dumpers which had to be pulled clear after sinking into the wet sand.

Friday 28th September, 2007

Another week of work almost over and the many workers on site continue to push towards the completion goal. Once again the paving works at the end shelter area continued and the stairway handrail adjacent to this was being repaired today. The team of four painters were pushing on with their railing painting operation between Beachville and the end of the promenade today also. At the horseshoe steps the cutting out of the stairs to be repaired continues.

Vernon Place had seen excavation and filling work going on today but exact work has not at this time been determined. Again at the Pant the breaking out of the existing eastern wall continues and no further repairs appear to have been done today on the lifeboat slipway.

The wind shifted to the north east today and at low water the reef was being pounded by the waves. Tonights high tide brought the breakers on the shore but the sand and reef continue to do their job and protect the bay.

Thursday 27th September, 2007

The worker was blessed with some dry weather today but the raw northerly wind kept things cool. At the south end of the promenade tegula block paving has progressed at the former boat yard. The painters have also been busy here undercoating the promenade railings and talking about railings the new post and rail fence on the embankment above the boatyard is now complete. Moving along the promenade the high tides have caused ponding at high water and the sea has also done its own reprofiling of the sand. A pond has formed at the base of the new beach stairs and for safety this area was fenced off today. The new horseshoe steps are also been worked on today with cutting out for later concrete repairs. At Vernon Place further timbers have been installed and the path stoning extended. Along at the pant the old steps and part of the promenade back wall to the eastern promenade has been demolished. Finally concrete repairs have continued on the lifeboat slipway.

Tonight's high tides with the rough sea brought the breakers onto the beach again but only the sea wall at Vernon Place was wet. At the Needles Eye headland the force of the waves were felt with breakers sending spray ten metres into the air and getting ever closer to the most southern beach steps which have never been touched by the sea in my lifetime.

harvest moonWednesday 26th September, 2007

The workers on the site were battered by conditions that were like a winter's day today with frequent heavy showers and a raw north wind. This fresh to strong north wind also brought on rough sea conditions and combined with the particularly high tides this week 'Couple' probably tasted for the first time the sea spray as the waves crashed onto the reef below them. In addition to that the beach tide mark was pushed much higher today but still it is short of the existing promenade wall. A year ago with similar conditions and tides the sea would have been crashing onto the promenade.

Anyway work continued at the pant with the old steps east of the pant being demolished today. Work also is underway in the new playpark with some new kerblines being established. At Vernon Place the path network continues to be established with one groyne left to install. Finally on the lifeboat slipway concrete repairs continue.

Tuesday 25th September, 2007

Further excavation work has been carried out at the pant today and the line of the pant road traced westwards along the toe of the promenade. On the lifeboat slipway contractors have been on site today to begin repairs of the concrete slipway which is traversed by many of the visitors going along the promenade.

Finally at Vernon Place the timber structures continue to be installed with the former access point through the promenade back wall concreted in today. With a new access point cut out of the back wall this area is being prepared for further work. Granular fill has also been placed and graded today to establish the new footpath profile at the west end of the site. Finally the original concrete steps to the east of Vernon Place behind the promenade have been cut back today to suit the new design profiles.

Monday 24th September 2007

The start of another week for the final stages of the works with the focus of the works at Vernon Place and along at the Pant. Even though the beach stairs are now open the upper handrails need grouting in and painting. Anyway at Vernon Place there was further progress with the various timber structures with the effort on the timber retaining wall.

At the pant excavation has been carried out and the original stairways either side of the pant ramp have been uncovered, probably for the first time in 25 years.

fun daySunday 23rd September, 2007

Whilst not such a good day for weather and rather windy at times today was to be a special one for the community when an event to commemorate the seaside regeneration took place. Work in setting the many attractions up began early today with funfair rides, displays, punch and judy, shuggiboats etc on the beach and the promenade. The event began at 1100 hours and soon hundreds were out to enjoy a great day at the seaside. The weather did stay fine despite dark clouds but we were thankfully spared any rain. On the beach in the afternoon many of the younger generation were out with their buckets and spades to take part in a sandcastle competition, their sand sculpting demonstrating the enjoyment that this pastime with such a flexible material does give to all and the potential for future similar events on the new beach.

Saturday 22nd September, 2007

Newbiggin was blessed by a warm and sunny day today and despite it only being a part day for the workers it was amongst other things a day to get the finishing touches ready for Sunday’s special beach event. However work did continue on a couple of other fronts. Firstly the new footpath diversion at the Pant is now in place and ready to take pedestrians next week when the promenade link wall goes in at this location. At Vernon Place the timber installation work continues with both groyne and retaining wall features, an area which is now taking shape.

blessingFriday 21st September, 2007

The day was to be one of two halves where the weather was concerned with steady rain unfortunately for the first part of the day. It was to be a day of finishing work off and clearing away temporary fences as today the event to celebrate the completeion of the works would be held.

Even at first light the dozer from Thorntons was at the new beach stairs reprofiling and moving sand. The temporary fencing was also removed fully in this area allowing public access for the first time for several months or so it seemed. The new viewing platforms were also opened up whilst at Vernon Place work continued with a further groyne structure being concreted in.

At the stroke of noon members of our community and invited guests gathered at the large viewing platform to see the beach and the 'small couple' blessed by our Vicar Rev. Judith Grieve. The rain unfortunately did not stop but that did not spoil an excellent service toghether with the throwing of a pinch of sea salt over the 'small couple' which particularly caught the attention of the group of media gathered. Apart from Judith on the platform praise for this regeneration of Newbiggin was echoed in the speeches given by Councillor Alex Wallace and also Colin Mitchell.

performanceAfter the ceremony a delicious buffet prepared by Rebecca from Pride of Northumbria was served in the sailing club. This was followed up with a further event to celebrate the scheme involving local school children and others at Newbiggin Sports Centre including the specially written poetry.

Thursday 20th September, 2007

Today has seen a great deal of activity to prepare for the opening event on Friday. The work is varied and includes the transporting of surplus sand from the middle of the bay to the north end of the bay. Indeed tonight the dozer was pushing sand around the new steps whilst workmen pushed on alomg the promeande taking down the safety fence.

One of the smaller viewing platforms is also now open and perhaps the fencing around the other two will be removed for the event of Friday. The new horseshoe steps now have a handrail but again the security fencing remains in place. And finally at Vernon Place there are now eight groyne structures in place with work in progress in this area.

Wednesday 19th September, 2007

Work began early today as the machines digging out sand at the north end of the bay were fired up and moving by 0700 hours. This was followed with activity reducing the level of a section of beach at the north end of the bay and by the afternoon sand which had been stockpiled from the new beach stair's excavation was been led along to the north end of the bay and stockpiled there. This work was continuing until early evening tonight.

As for the paving on the new beach stairs this is well advanced but the extent of other works has not been ascertained, though I would add that the three new light columns at the south end of the promenade are now lit up at night.

sand movingThe focus over the next few days will be the preparations for the ceremony on Friday this week for the opening event as well as the beach fun day on Sunday.

Tuesday 18th September, 2007

Two volvo dumptrucks arrived on site today to assist with a sand moving exercise whilst the profiling exercise continued at the south end of the beach. Progress was also made on the railing repairs.

On the new beach stairs the tegula block paving was begun and by tonight it was almost 40% complete. The viewing platforms now appear to be complete with the tie in works certainly finioshed on the largest of the platforms. At Vernon Place the concrete has been placed to secure groyne number 1.

On the beach down from Sandridge sand excavation has been commenced with the level here dropped by about 1metre.
Finally along the promenade posters are out advertising the special family beach day on Sunday.

Monday 17th September, 2007

The week began with the delivery of a small dozer on the beach from Thornton Plant Hire. This machine as well as a 360 degree excavator spent the day working on the beach re-profiling exercise down from the south end of the promenade. Also in this area a welder is on site carrying out repairs to the existing railings which are been undertaken behind a protective portable screen.Further along paving works have begun on the top level of the new beach access stairs with today's work
entailing the laying of three courses wide granite type blocks to the circumference of the back of the top concrete step.
The paving work is now almost complete on all viewing platforms with tie ins to do with the original promenade deck level. Along at Vernon Place the excavation is done for groyne number 4 and shutters for concrete are going in at Groyne number 1.

cabins goneSunday 16th September, 2007

A fresh to near gale south west wind battered the village today and the fine sand blew about on the beach and along the promenade. A few hardy souls spent some time on the beach to watch the sailing club members demonstrate their skills in the bay in their yachts. 'Couple' had a special reason to look out to sea today as by mid afternoon the QE2 passed by Newbiggin having sailed up from Scarborough today and as she was not scheduled to enter the Tyne until 1800 hours today the Captain of this majestic vessel obviously thought it would be worthwhile treating his crew and passengers to a visit to see
Newbiggin's regeneration. We look forward to this vessel passing us northbound on Monday evening.

Saturday 15th September, 2007

Despite a promising start the clouds gathered and brought some showers by late morning but brighter skies were with us for the late afternoon. Another Saturday and another half day of work. At the horseshoe steps there has been some blowing off of dust and debris with the airline and some repairs to the concret stairs. Further minor work was also carried out at the viewing platforms and at Vernon Place. The remaining cabins used by Westminster Dredging left Newbiggin today with only the promenade contractor Carillion having an office / stores on this site.

Friday 14th September, 2007

The end of another week for the bay project and things continue to progress. The paving to the viewing platforms has made good progress with the final large platform well underway. Another timber groyne structure has also been fixed at Vernon Place today. On the new beach stairs concrete repairs have been done on the old wave wall today also. Newbiggin's northern skyline has also changed today with the further clearing of the contractor's compound near to Church Point.

site offices are removedThursday 13th September, 2007

Good progress continues to be made today with further developments to report here. On the land end of the horseshoe stairs a drilling contractor has now drilled the new concrete stair strings so the new handrails can be fixed. On the large viewing platform the handrail now appears complete but the paving has only just begun with a pallet of blocks stood adjacent them. On the smaller platforms the paving is about 90% complete with the difficult cutting works left to do.

Along at Vernon Place two of the groyne structures have been fixed today.

Wednesday 12th September, 2007

Good progress continues to be made on the promenade with the fine weather certainly helping in this regard. At Vernon Place the bases for the new groyne features are nearly all complete with installation work on Thursday.

On the viewing platforms the tegula block paving is being installed on the two smaller platforms whilst on the larger platforms the new railings are well advanced.

Work on the beach stairs continues with further repairs to the existing promenade wall while further along the promenade more noticeable work is been carried out at the end shelter. Here the groynes appear complete and with the retaining wall similarly progressed the fill behind has been placed as well as graded with rock armourstone placed in a random manner.

Tuesday 11th September, 2007

For a early week day when the schools are back and the holidays were over the front was buzzing again today as hot and sunny weather embraced Newbiggin. The car park was full at Church Point with a brisk trade for ice cream sales.

The workers were pushing on with activities today with setting out and excavation work at Vernon Place. On the large viewing platform further fence posts were installed and on the beach stairs filling work continued with shuttering to the existing wave wall top.At the end shelter there was filling and grading works at the east end of this ready to bring in the armourstone.

Monday 10th September, 2007

With the new working week underway it was a day full of activity along the promenade as the work area approached their final stages. At Vernon Place the excavation work continues with a new ramp access route demarked after saw cuts into the existing reinforced concrete back wave wall. On the southern viewing platform area several fence posts are now fixed but other work in these areas has not been ascertained. Finally on the beach stairs only the top level needs concreteing after completion today of the lower step profile section.

The site offices at the Church Point car park are now cleared, and staff have moved out to work in the Sailing Club. The portacabins will be removed over the next few days.

Sunday 9th September, 2007

With no construction work today it was left to the many visitors to take advantage of stroll along the promenade. It was busy on the front today despite the cloudy skies with 'Couple' once again bringing in the crowds.

Saturday 8th September, 2007

The bay is now clear and only the permanent works occupy the area. Once again it was another hot and sunny day with Saturday being a part day only for the shoreworks. Today the focus was entirely on the new beach stairs with subase fill being brought along and compacted for the final concrete work to sit upon. There appeared to be no work going on elsewhere on the promenade.

With the contractors away from the reef the quest was on to go and visit the new structure. This was done firstly by children in inflatables then this afternoon two teenagers swam out to the reef then swam back to the shore. I hope that common sense will prevail on ‘reef visitors’ such as these due to the risks that they put themselves in doing such a venture.

pipeline leavesFriday 7th September, 2007

Another hot and sunny day for the village and today we were going to sea the remaining piece of the sand delivery network removed from the beach. During the morning final checks were made to check the integrity of the air seal because if this failed the pipe would sink and be lost on the seabed. By late morning all was ready and the two tugs in the bay connected the tow ready to take the weight of the giant pipe. With power applied the pipeline was whisked away for a journey to the horizon and onto Holland.

Thursday 6th September, 2007

Newbiggin was once again basking in hot weather today and my update for the next few days will focus on the removal of the sand delivery pipeline who’s departure in imminent. Just after 0700 hours today the pipe was blown up not in the exploding sense but in terms of inflation. Basically a compressed air line was attached to a valve on the pipe at the land end and a compressor pumped air into the pipe to remove all water. With enough air in the pipe it started to float to the surface from its long term seabed resting place -–it had been there since April 2007. The pipe was then found to have an air leak on this end and therefore a large excavator was used to pull the giant pipeline up the beach. The excavator did struggle on this but eventually the pipeline moved and the repairs were begun. Out at sea ‘Ailsa’ was also busy getting the seaward end prepared for the move. As darkness fell some of the team remained on the beach to guard the pipe and prevent anyone taking a stroll along it in the dark.

strekker leavesWednesday 5th September, 2007

It was a very warm and sunny day for our village today but what it will be remebered for was today 'Strekker' left the bay for the last time her job now done. The vessel had been placing the last few pieces of rock during the day and by 1900 hours tonight 'Ailsa' came to collect her and take her away. The bay is in darkness with 'Ailsa' making a brief visit late in the evening to attend to the sand pipe which also is leaving us on Thursday at 0700 hours. On the shore the work progressed with a growing pile of new stones being placed on the beach at the north end - destination unknown!!

Tuesday 4th September, 2007

After a cool start the sun got out today but the work in the bay came to a halt today. I noted in my Monday report that the wind had freshened from the north bringing on a swell which was originally out at sea but now has migrated to the bay. The net result is that the swell has stopped 'Strekker' from working today or so it seems from the shore.

On the shore some of the new timber groyne structures have been delivered to Vernon Place awaiting instalation with activities associated with setting out well underway. As for the new beach stairs two further concrete pours have been carried out today.

Monday 3rd September, 2007

There was a bit of a chill in the air today due to fresh northerly wind which brought on some swell particularly beyond the Church Point headland. Nevertheless 'Strekker', 'Ailsa' and 'Gray Test' were kept busy today with barge loads of stone arriving, coreloc with 'Ailsa' and work in removing the temporary works around 'Couple'. Work has also been done in placing stone in the central seaward area again today.

Ashore, excavation and filling was going on at the end shelter works with further concrete placed along here today. Along from here a further new light column was installed today as part of the street lighting upgrade for the promenade and it is working tonight.

On the beach stairs two further bays of stairs were set up for concreting today but it is not clear whether the concreting operation was carried out here today as the concrete pump was not on site early in the day.

With no work on the viewing platforms today the activity at Vernon Place appeared very low key with a further push to progress reserved for another day perhaps.

Sunday 2nd September, 2007

Despite a fine start heavy showers were the feature for the middle of the day but it eventually became brighter.
‘Strekker’ and her team of workers nevertheless pushed on with the job in the heavy rain with workers alongside ‘Couple’ on the pier – they looked like two young children with their parents as they all looked seaward to the horizon.

The focus today for the crane barge was more stone being placed at the northern roundhead. ‘Ailsa’ did arrive later in the day with several pieces of coreloc on the deck and ‘Strekker’ moved to the seaward centre of the reef to deal with coreloc issues.
Today was also a notable day for the Newbiggin by the Sea Sailing Club and Westminster Dredging for it was the first ‘Westminster Dredging Topper Open’ sailing competition.

About 25 sailors took part in the challenge which is being sponsored this year and the next ten years by Westminster Dredging. The event demonstrates both Westminster Dredging and Wansbeck District Council’s contribution in supporting this local initiative.

strekkerSaturday 1st September 2007

Saturdays are a half shift for the shoreworks and today time was spent stripping shuttering and getting things ready for another set of concrete pours next week. There was some other work today at Vernon Place where the excavation operations continued. On the beach further work was done to prepare for the removal of the sand delivery pipe which has been a feature of the bay for over four months.

At sea 'Streker' pushed on with the finishing off work at the north end of the reef. The focus today after some coreloc work was to place rock around the northern roundhead. Workers from the barge were also busy on the 'Couple' plinth with further finishing off works in this area. Some of the tempoary mesh platform on top of the coreloc was removed today.Earlier in the day 'Strekker' had been surrounded by a colourful array of small sailing dinghies out for a race in the fresh offshore wind. Tonight as the mighty crane continued with its work the shore was lined by scores of fishermen casting their lines out to sea in the search for a tasty catch.

In the evening Richard Martin and Jason Thompson visited the Strekker - see the Strekker Visit Gallery. There is also a video clip of Strekker on the Video Gallery page.

See archived updates for: August 2007 | July 2007 | June 2007 | May 2007 | Current Update


Updates provided by Richard Martin RNLI

Further information about the project is available from the official web site at

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