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Pier Gardens

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The two popular areas (Pier Gardens and Market Place) are set to be rejuvenated, supported by the Government’s Levelling Up Fund. North East Lincolnshire Council was awarded £18.4m for the resort last year, following the development of the 2022 Cleethorpes Masterplan, which was spearheaded by Hemingway Design.

The Cleethorpes Levelling Up Fund projects are progressing, with the latest set of designs for Pier Gardens available to view below.

Download the full document at Cleethorpes Pier Gardens (PDF, 14MB)

Introduction to the Pier Gardens Project

WSP UK Limited supported by HemingwayDesign has been appointed by North East Lincolnshire Council to provide Landscape Architecture and Engagement services in relation to the Pier Gardens improvement project.

The consultancy team are appointed to provide RIBA Stages 1-4 (Preparation and Brief to Technical Design) and Community and Stakeholder engagement.

This commission follows from the previous Town Centre Masterplan and subsequent successful Levelling Up Fund application, both delivered by HemingwayDesign and WSP (formally GL Hearn). North East Lincolnshire Council were successful in their £18.4m application, with £4.8m allocated for the Pier Gardens improvements.

These boards present the concept design proposals which have been informed by feedback shared during previous public and stakeholder engagement events, workshops and one-to-one meetings held throughout February – April 2024.

Feedback shared today will shape the final Stage 4 designs which will be submitted for planning permission in June.


HemingwayDesign & GL Hearn Masterplan commission.


Levelling Up Award Application & Masterplan Issue.


Levelling Up Award.


WSP UK Limited with Hemingway Design appointed 

Design and Planking 

Contractor Procurement. 


Contractor starts on site.



On Thursday 29th February 2024, residents and visitors were invited to a drop-in engagement event in Cleethorpes Town Hall, to speak with the design team and share their thoughts and desires for the future of Pier Gardens. The event was attended by over 100 local residents and business owners.

Supplementing the in-person consultation, an online public survey was launched via the North East Lincolnshire Council’s Have Your Say Page, and closed on the 15th March 2024 receiving 378 responses from residents and businesses.

Feedback was overall very positive and key messages included:

• Support for modern, naturalistic, wildlife-friendly planting schemes.
• Support for natural look & feel of children’s play elements particularly the use of timber and inclusion of natural planting schemes within the designs.
• Support for social seating areas and the inclusion of long bench seating and games (chess) tables, as well as sheltered seating areas.
• Support for areas that enable pop-up events, performances, and group (exercise) classes.
• Support for wayfinding and signage that informs visitors of the natural environment and history of the gardens and wider resort, particularly the importance of the SSSI.
• Ensure the play offer extends to older children -teenagers and young adults, with a focus on ‘making space for girls’.
• Preference for softer landscaping throughout the gardens and for hard landscape/paved areas is kept to a minimum.
• Ensure all spaces within the gardens are well-lit.

Healthy & Sustainable

• A place that prioritises the mental and physical wellbeing of its community, and actively seeks to address the climate emergency.
• A place that protects and enhances its natural assets whilst embracing sustainable development.
• A place that encourages varied physical activity for all ages and abilities.

Inclusive & Welcoming

• A place with a varied social, leisure, and entertainment offer with broad appeal.
• A place where all residents and visitors, regardless of age and ability feel safe and comfortable visiting.
• A place that encourages social interactions, providing opportunities to meet, relax and have fun.

Creative & Distinct

• A place that celebrates and strengthens the characteristics that make it unique.
• A flexible place that supports entrepreneurial and independent trading providing space for an evolving array of events, exhibitions & attractions.
• A place that promotes and supports imaginative play.
• A place that promotes high quality artwork and enhances the heritage setting of the Cleethorpes Sea Front Conservation Area.


• A design that complies with both the external funding requirements whilst remaining true to the original masterplan vision.
• A scheme that is build-able within the project constraints.
• A place that becomes an asset for the area providing ongoing support for the local economy.
• The possibility to generate revenue for the maintenance of Pier Gardens.

Pier Gardens needs a range of activities for all age groups, ranging from passive to interactive. These activities need to be accessible for all abilities and at all times of the year and cater for the needs of the community in addition to attracting visitors.

The positioning of the zones have been influenced by the on site features; where are the points of arrival, where are there positive and negative views, the location of existing trees and structures and also the site’s topography.

A key aspect of the design approach involves the strategic overlapping of zones, serving as a guiding principle to inform the detailed layout of the gardens. Central to this concept is the concentration of play facilities in the heart of the site, creating a focal point for recreational activities. However, the spirit of play will be seamlessly integrated throughout the entire space, ensuring that moments of enjoyment are scattered throughout Pier Gardens.

The central play zone will be bookended to the north and south by designated areas allocated for performances and events, offering a dynamic space for cultural activities and community gatherings. The north will focus on entertainment while the south will respond to the reflective character of remembrance and include memorial gardens, providing a tranquil setting for reflection and a setting to celebrate remembrance.

Latest designs

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The Site Layout

Artist impression of Pier Garden from above
  1. Gateway Plaza
  2. Flexible Event Space
  3. Water Play
  4. Play Structures
  5. Terraced Play
  6. Junior Play
  7. Quiet Reflection
  8. Memorial Area

Arrival Space and Performance Zone

The Northern arrival space will provide a high-quality new gateway into Pier Gardens, acting as transitional zones between the town centre and the gardens, as well as becoming a gateway to the new Sea Road Building. Materials, street furniture, wayfinding and planting schemes in this area will reflect the park’s new character and signal the users arrival at Pier Garden.

The Events Zone will reflect Cleethorpes’ history of seaside shows and entertainment and provide the setting for a changing programme of events. This area will provide flexibility and will support all the other areas of the park. The proposed lawns will become areas of play, seating and community gathering.

Artist impression of the arrival space and performance zone in Pier Gardens

Play & Recreation

Play is the core attraction for Pier Gardens and should be suitable for all age ranges and all abilities at all times of the year. Facilities should encourage creativity, risk taking, cooperation, exercise, and coordination.
Proposals will not be the traditional off-the-shelf generic slides, swings and roundabouts but will be of the scale, size and quality to make a statement while reflecting the coastal setting. The equipment will be features in their own right and contribute the new character of the gardens and sense of place. Materials will be appropriate to the location and incorporate timber and natural stone alongside naturalistic and native planting schemes influenced by local habitat types and especially the natural character of South Beach. Proposals divide the play zone into areas:

Water & Sand:

This area will provide a unique setting for children to play creatively together. Tiered rock formations will provide several opportunities for interactive water-play and include hand operated pumps for users to move water around the site, as well as interactive water jets. Surrounding sand pits respond to the gardens coastal setting and provide an interactive surface for play. The landscape of this area will be designed to playable landscape even in winter months.

Structural Play:

The existing trees will be incorporated into the design through raised play structures set within the canopies. The design and arrangement of these structures will exploit their raised nature to include viewing points. Timber is the preferred choice of material for all play elements to continue the site’s natural aesthetic.

Artist impression of the play and recreation zone in Pier Gardens

Terraced Seating & Play

Proposals are to introduce simple terracing within the underutilised grass bank between the water garden and Jonny Donuts, to provide an accessible viewpoint offering 180-degree unbroken vistas of the beach and Humber Estuary. Small stone retaining walls will create a series of terraced lawn areas with wheelchair accessible areas at lower levels. The terraces will also incorporate planting schemes influenced by local habitat types and especially the natural character of South Beach. Perennial grasses will be used to create sand dune planting to link in with the context of the site and provide a playful, dynamic that move and changes with the season.

The topography provides exciting opportunities for play. Proposals are to utilise the grass bank to incorporate challenging slides and climbing features without the need for high structures.

Proposals also included an accessible viewing platform offering uninterrupted views of the resort.

Reflection & Memorial Zone

Acting as a bookend to the Northern Arrival Space and Performance Zone, the southern Reflection Zone is located next to the Cenotaph and the Armed Forces Memorial Gate.

The Reflection Zone consists of two sub areas:
The memorial plaza will be a new flexible plaza with new improved access from Alexandra Road. This area will cater for large groups during remembrance events and provide an improved setting for the Striker Memorial and the new Naval memorial. The space will include natural stone paving and be fully Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) compliant to ensure there are no hazards for users of limited ability.

The adjacent Reflection Gardens will be separated from the memorial plaza through soft landscape and provide a series of more intimate spaces for contemplation and reflection within a quiet garden setting.

Artist impression of the reflection and memorial zone in Pier Gardens

Please note that the proposals shown here are illustrative only and show all possibilities for each area. The exact proposal will be developed to incorporate any feedback we receive and to ensure the works are within budget.

Have your say

We urge residents, businesses and visitors to let us know what you think about the latest designs and the planned multi-million-pound schemes.

Both draft schemes have already taken account of the views of hundreds of people who helped to shape the Cleethorpes Masterplan. Opinions were also sought in a consultation held earlier this year – and now there’s another chance for people to say what they think about these latest visuals.

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