Dovercourt Public Realm Scheme Marine Parade artists impression

Dovercourt Public Realm Scheme

Background

“Dovercourt will be a thriving town with an attractive High Street, a range of shops and cafes and regular street markets: a town which is proud of its heritage but also able to respond to new opportunities. A town with a high-quality public realm and open spaces, stunning beaches and good connections – an attractive place to live, work, shop and visit”.

– Dovercourt Masterplan vision

The Dovercourt Public Realm Scheme aims to deliver a series of streetscape improvements along the Kingsway corridor in Dovercourt to help revitalise the town centre.

The proposed scheme will create a more inviting route along the B1414 Kingsway between Dovercourt Railway Station, the town centre and seafront, helping make the town centre an even more attractive place to live, work, shop and visit.

It is an important initial phase of a programme of regeneration of Dovercourt town centre and is aimed at realising the vision set out in Tendring District Council’s Dovercourt Town Centre Masterplan.

The project is being delivered by Essex County Council in partnership with Tendring District Council as one of the Dovercourt Capital Regeneration Projects and has been developed following engagement with key partners, including Harwich Town Council and Harwich and Dovercourt Tourism Group.

The proposed scheme is based on proposals put forward as part of a successful Government funding bid, with construction currently expected to start in summer 2025.

Having developed initial designs for the scheme, we carried out a seven-week public consultation between Wednesday 29 November 2023 and Tuesday 16 January 2024 to provide residents, businesses and visitors with an opportunity to provide feedback on the proposals. The consultation has now closed. Thank you to everyone who responded. We are currently reviewing responses to the consultation and the feedback we received will then be summarised in a consultation report and will be used to help shape the final scheme.

Our proposals

The Dovercourt Public Realm Scheme is focused on four main areas – Dovercourt Railway Station forecourt, the High Street junction with Kingsway, the Harwich Library forecourt and the Queen Victoria statue area on Marine Parade.

It aims to improve connectivity between these key areas and highlight the town’s beautiful coastline, helping to enhance the visitor experience, support local businesses and encourage investment in the area ahead of the planned Freeport East.

As well as enhancing the four key focal points, we are also proposing a series of general improvements along the B1414 Kingsway between the station and the seafront to help revitalise this important town centre gateway. These improvements include:

  • General public realm improvements including enhanced footways throughout the scheme, with high-quality natural stone paving at key public realm focus areas (railway station forecourt, library forecourt and Queen Victoria statue area) and improvements to the overall corridor with good quality standard concrete paving
  • Improvements to crossing points along the Kingsway corridor with dropped kerbs and tactile paving to enhance the pedestrian experience and to encourage Safer, Greener and Healthier modes of travel
  • Additional trees, planting, lighting and benches to create a greater sense of pride in the town and a better visitor experience
  • A new 20mph speed limit on Station Road, Kingsway, Marine Parade and adjoining roads to help make the town centre a safer and more pedestrian-friendly place
  • New fingerpost wayfinding signs to help direct visitors to key destinations

There are no plans to make improvements to the Dovercourt Railway Station building as part of this scheme.

Dovercourt Proposals
Dovercourt Proposals Key

Dovercourt Railway Station forecourt

Dovercourt Station proposal plan

We aim to transform the Dovercourt Railway Station forecourt into a welcoming public space, improving accessibility, enhancing the public realm and creating a safer and greener gateway to the town.

Our proposals in this area include:

  • Footway improvements, with high-quality natural stone paving in the station forecourt area to make it a clear focal point as a gateway into the town
  • Rearrangement of the existing station parking spaces, with road-level block paving used to visually enlarge the forecourt area while maintaining parking, including designated pick-up/drop-off and accessible spaces. A total of nine parking spaces are currently proposed
  • Additional trees and benches in the vicinity of the station
  • Retaining existing granite planters, which will be replanted
  • New fingerpost wayfinding signs in the railway station forecourt area providing directions and journey times to key destinations
  • Retaining existing cycling stands outside the station
  • Change in paving material to highlight the footway crossover area across Nelson Road
Dovercourt Station forecourt artist's impression

High Street junction

Dovercourt High Street proposal plan

The High Street junction, where the B1414 Kingsway and the B1352 High Street intersect, will be upgraded with improvements to the existing controlled pedestrian crossings on all four arms of the junction. There are no plans to make any changes to the traffic signals at the junction.

Imprinted asphalt surfacing will be used to clearly highlight the crossing areas and existing tactile paving will be retained. The junction surface will be highlighted with coloured chippings as a traffic calming and visual enhancement measure, highlighting this key junction on the High Street.

Advanced stop lines will be provided for cyclists and the concrete footways on the approaches to the junction will be repaved.

Wayfinding posts will help direct visitors to key destinations.

Harwich Library forecourt area

The Harwich Library forecourt area will be enhanced to create an attractive new public space outside the library.

Harwich Library proposal plan

Our proposals in this area include:

  • Existing fencing to the front of the library will be removed and the footway will be built out into the carriageway to create additional public space and a clear focal point. This will necessitate the loss of a small number of existing parking spaces outside the library to create space for the public realm improvements
  • Additional trees and feature benches with in-built planters will be provided to create an attractive social area outside the library building
  • Existing stainless steel cycle parking stands will be retained and repositioned
  • Widening and repaving of footways, using high-quality natural stone paving to create an attractive public realm area outside the library
  • Change in paving material to highlight the footway crossover area across Milton Road
  • New wayfinding posts to help direct visitors to key local destinations

There are also separate proposals to refurbish Harwich Library and create a new Adult Community Learning skills centre in the building as part of the Dovercourt Capital Regeneration Projects. Although these improvements are being delivered as part of the same programme, they are separate to our proposals for the Dovercourt Public Realm Scheme.

Dovercourt Library forecourt artist's impression

Queen Victoria statue area on Marine Parade

Dovercourt Marine Parade proposal plan

An enhanced public realm area will be created around the Queen Victoria statue on Marine Parade, creating a seafront ‘book-end’ feature to the corridor between the railway station and seafront, and helping to highlight views of the town’s beautiful coastline.

Our proposals in this area include:

  • Footway improvements, with high-quality natural stone paving in the Queen Victoria statue area to make it a clear public focal point
  • A raised table (a raised section of road over a junction with a ramp on all sides) at the B1414 Marine Parade/B1414 Kingsway junction to help reduce vehicle speeds and create an at-grade, barrier-free environment for people walking between the town centre and seafront
  • At-grade pedestrian crossing points on the raised table, with tactile paving, imprinted asphalt surfacing at the crossings and coloured chippings on the raised table. This will help clearly highlight the pedestrian priority at the junction and act as a visual traffic calming measure
  • New benches and planters on either side of the Queen Victoria statue to frame this signifcant view and create an attractive public realm area
  • An existing streetlight will be relocated from in front of the Queen Victoria statue to open up the views and will be replaced by new heritage-style lighting to enhance the setting of this public space
  • New fingerpost wayfinding signs providing directions and journey times to key destinations
Marine Parade junction artist's impression

Public consultation

We have now completed our initial proposed designs for the Dovercourt Public Realm Scheme and asked residents, businesses and visitors for their feedback through a public consultation. The consultation ran for seven weeks, opening on Wednesday 29 November 2023 and closing on Tuesday 16 January 2024.

The main components of the scheme are largely determined by what was included in the Levelling Up Fund/Capital Regeneration Projects bid and the funding we have available. However, the public consultation was an opportunity to have your say and feedback will be used to help shape the finer details of the scheme so it best meets the town’s current and future needs.

As part of the consultation, we held a drop-in event at Harwich Library on Tuesday 12 December 2023 to allow people to find out more about the Dovercourt Public Realm Scheme and ask questions about the proposals.

If you have a question about the scheme, please email us at: dovercourtpublicrealm@essexhighways.org.

Next steps

The following dates are based on the latest programme and are dependent on various legal and statutory processes, and other approvals. Therefore, they are subject to change.

  • Site surveys – February to May 2024
  • Completion of preliminary design – March 2024
  • Detailed design and tender – April 2024 to Summer 2025
  • Estimated construction start date - Summer 2025

Construction of the scheme is expected to take approximately 18 to 24 months and will be carefully managed to minimise the impact and disruption for local residents and businesses.

Wider context

Dovercourt Capital Regeneration Projects

Significant investment is being made in Harwich and Dovercourt through the Dovercourt Capital Regeneration Projects, including the £4.3million Dovercourt Public Realm Scheme. This demonstrates recognition of the area’s huge potential and a shared desire to build on the significant opportunities and economic boost which will come with Freeport East.

Timeline

  1. 2010

    Public consultation to help inform the original Dovercourt Town Centre Masterplan (Dovercourt Rediscovered)

  2. 2011

    Dovercourt Town Centre Masterplan (Dovercourt Rediscovered) is first published

  3. April 2019

    A revised version of the masterplan (Dovercourt Revisited) is published

  4. Summer 2022

    The proposed Dovercourt Public Realm Scheme is submitted by Tendring District Council as part of a Levelling Up Fund (LUF) bid

  5. January 2023

    Tendring District Council was notified the LUF bid was unsuccessful

  6. March 2023

    As part of the Budget, the Government announced the bid was successful through the LUF sister fund, Capital Regeneration Projects

The package of projects being delivered through the Dovercourt Capital Regeneration Projects, which includes a separate scheme to refurbish Harwich Library and create a new Adult Community Learning skills centre in the building, is the next phase in realising the vision set out in Dovercourt Masterplan Revisited. The programme aims to revitalise the tired and under-utilised town centre and improve outcomes for residents and businesses through regeneration.

Together, the series of proposed projects will help create much-improved public spaces and facilities for local residents, as well as providing high-quality housing to support local need and better access to training and skills.

More information about the other schemes being delivered as part of the Dovercourt Capital Regeneration Projects is available on the Tendring District Council website.

Separately, Tendring District Council is progressing a Levelling Up Fund-funded Civic Quarter scheme in Clacton and Tendring has also been named as one of 20 areas to be involved in a Levelling Up Partnership with Government, with a total funding pot of £400million to be shared across the areas.

Logos of partners, funded by UK Government, Powered by Levelling Up, Tendring District Council and Essex County Council

Questions and answers

The Dovercourt Public Realm Scheme is Government-funded through the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities’ Capital Regeneration Projects fund, which is a sister fund of the Levelling Up Fund, and Essex County Council. The funding was awarded to Tendring District Council specifically to deliver proposed public realm improvements along the Kingsway corridor. The proposed improvements were submitted in a Levelling Up Fund bid by Tendring District Council in summer 2022.

The funding for the scheme has been awarded to Tendring District Council specifically to deliver proposed public realm improvements along the Kingsway corridor and cannot be used for other purposes. The proposed improvements were submitted in a Levelling Up Fund bid by Tendring District Council in summer 2022, having been identified as an important priority as part of the Dovercourt Town Centre Masterplan.

While the funding cannot be used for highway maintenance, it should be noted that the Government recently announced Essex will receive £121 million of funding for road repairs and resurfacing between now and 2034 following a reallocation of funding from the HS2 scheme.

The built environment in Dovercourt is currently constraining the visitor experience. In consultation on Dovercourt Revisited (the town centre masterplan), the most common response from attendees on what they disliked about Dovercourt town centre was the quality of the street scene, with 88% stating their first impression of the town centre as unwelcoming and untidy.

Poor public realm also reduces commercial and residential property prices, hindering the potential of the town centre to attract and invite confidence for investment.

To unlock the growth required to support wider regeneration of Dovercourt, attract new businesses and investment, and bring forward major development, improvements to the town centre infrastructure and public realm are required to drive commercial demand, improve investor confidence, and create a town centre which is more inviting to residents and visitors. By making Dovercourt a more attractive and welcoming destination and increasing footfall in the town centre, new businesses are more likely to be attracted to the area.

Significant investment is being made in Harwich and Dovercourt through the Dovercourt Capital Regeneration Projects, including the Dovercourt Public Realm Scheme. This demonstrates recognition of the area’s huge potential and a shared desire to build on the significant opportunities and economic boost which are anticipated to come with Freeport East.

The package of projects being delivered through the Dovercourt Capital Regeneration Projects, which includes a separate scheme to refurbish Harwich Library and create a new Adult Community Learning skills centre in the building, is the next phase in realising the vision set out in Dovercourt Masterplan Revisited. The programme aims to revitalise the tired and under-utilised town centre and improve outcomes for residents and businesses through regeneration.

Together, the series of proposed projects will help create much-improved public spaces and facilities for local residents, as well as providing high-quality housing to support local need and better access to training and skills.

More information about the other schemes being delivered as part of the Dovercourt Capital Regeneration Projects is available on the Tendring District Council website.

Separately, Tendring has also been named as one of 20 areas to be involved in a Levelling Up Partnership with Government, with a total funding pot of £400million to be shared across the areas.

Beyond the regeneration projects being led by Essex County Council and Tendring District Council, Bathside Bay (known as Freeport East Harwich) has the potential to become the southern North Sea’s leading Green Energy Hub, drawing inward investment from Europe. It could deliver 3,500 jobs and unlock wider growth and regeneration in the area. 

The town’s High Street was chosen by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) to be part of the new High Street Accelerator Pilot Programme. A new forum will be set up led by local businesses and charities, with Tendring District Council (TDC) – which put forward Dovercourt for the programme – also represented. It will receive £237,000 to spend by March 2025; this will enable the forum to get established, set a vision and deliver projects agreed by it. The forum will also be able to apply for specific government funding for some schemes.

As the funding for the Dovercourt Public Realm Scheme is ringfenced, funding will not be able to directly support businesses or improve shop frontages along the Kingsway corridor. However, the proposed public realm improvements aim to help attract more visitors and increase footfall in the town centre which will benefit existing businesses in the area. There may also be separate future opportunities for businesses to apply for funding through Tendring District Council and the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

Based on the current programme, construction of the scheme is estimated to start in summer 2025 and is expected to take approximately 18 to 24 months. As with all construction projects, this is dependent on a number of factors and processes and remains subject to change. Construction will be carefully managed to minimise the impact and disruption for local residents and businesses.

We have aimed to retain as much of the existing parking in the area as possible, particularly outside Dovercourt Railway Station. In this area, we are proposing to rearrange the existing parking spaces and use road-level block paving to visually enlarge the forecourt area while still maintaining parking. A total of nine spaces are currently proposed, including designated pick-up/drop-off and accessible spaces.

To create additional space outside Harwich Library, the footway will be built out into the carriageway which will require the removal of a small number of existing parking spaces. However, we are proposing to extend the existing parking bays on Kingsway near the junction with Marine Parade to the start of the proposed raised table to help mitigate for the loss of spaces outside the library.

We are not proposing to make any significant changes to parking in other areas, such as Marine Parade, as part of this scheme.

It is standard to have fees at car parks and Orwell Place is managed in the same way as all other TDC owned car parks across the district. Parking is free after 11am for residents who have a vehicle registered with the TDC householder parking permit. Blue Badge rules are the same as elsewhere also.

The proposal in the Dovercourt Masterplan for this site includes a parking allowance for the new homes, and some on street parking. Tendring District Council are aware of concerns around the proposals to locate housing on the site of the Milton Road car park and are looking into alternative locations for this aspect of the scheme. The project has to deliver a housing element as this has been agreed with government, however if the housing element moves, we will have the option to retain some parking at the site.

Dovercourt Railway Station and the station building are owned by Network Rail and leased to Greater Anglia as the train operator. While we are proposing to make improvements to the station forecourt as part of the scheme, we are not able to make further improvements to the station or station building. However, Essex County Council is keen to work with Greater Anglia to explore potential opportunities for the station building to be brought into community or commercial use.

Tendring District Council has agreement to purchase these sites and once this is completed will explore options for redevelopment.

As part of the Dovercourt Public Realm Scheme, we are proposing a series of improvements in the forecourt area outside the library building to create an attractive new public space. There are also separate proposals to refurbish Harwich Library and create a new Adult Community Learning skills centre in the building as part of the Dovercourt Capital Regeneration Projects. Although these improvements are being delivered as part of the same programme, they are separate to our proposals for the Dovercourt Public Realm Scheme. Further information about the library proposals is expected to be available next year.

A number of pedestrian improvements will be made along the Kingsway corridor as part of the scheme to improve connectivity between Dovercourt Railway Station, the town centre and the seafront. These include enhanced footways throughout the scheme, with high-quality natural stone paving at key public realm focus areas (railway station forecourt, library forecourt and Queen Victoria statue area) and improvements to the overall corridor with good quality standard concrete paving. There will also be improvements to crossing points along the corridor with dropped kerbs and tactile paving to enhance the pedestrian experience and to encourage Safer, Greener and Healthier modes of travel.

At the High Street junction, where the B1414 Kingsway and the B1352 High Street intersect, improvements will be made to the existing controlled pedestrian crossings on all four arms of the junction. Imprinted asphalt surfacing will be used to clearly highlight the crossing areas and existing tactile paving will be retained. The junction surface will be highlighted with coloured chippings as a traffic calming and visual enhancement measure, highlighting this key junction on the High Street.

Pedestrian crossing points will be included on the raised table on Marine Parade, with tactile paving, imprinted asphalt surfacing at the crossings and coloured chippings on the raised table. This will help clearly highlight the pedestrian priority at the junction and act as a visual traffic calming measure.

A new 20mph speed limit is also proposed on Station Road, Kingsway, Marine Parade and adjoining roads to help make the town centre a safer and more pedestrian-friendly place.

Although this project is primarily a public realm scheme, it provides the foundation for further planned investment in walking and cycling infrastructure across the area. A countywide Local Walking and Cycling Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP) is in development and proposes new connecting routes from residential areas to key employment sites.

As part of the Dovercourt Public Realm Scheme itself, we propose to retain existing cycle stands outside the railway station and library, while we are also proposing advanced stop lines for cyclists at the High Street junction.

The planned new 20mph speed limit and other traffic calming measures will also help reduce vehicle speeds further and create a safer environment for people to cycle.

The proposed new 20mph speed limit would be legally enforceable. However, there are currently no plans to introduce speed cameras in the area as part of the scheme. The current average speed in the area is only slightly over the proposed 20mph speed limit and it is felt that speed limit signage, the proposed raised table and other design elements will all help highlight the pedestrian focus of the area and reduce vehicle speeds further.

Having completed our initial proposed designs for the Dovercourt Public Realm Scheme, we are encouraging residents, businesses and visitors to provide their feedback through a public consultation.

The consultation opened on Wednesday 29 November 2023 and will close on Tuesday 16 January 2024.

The main components of the scheme are largely determined by what was included in the Levelling Up Fund/Capital Regeneration Projects bid and the funding we have available. However, the public consultation is an opportunity to have your say and feedback will be used to help shape the finer details of the scheme so it best meets the town’s current and future needs.

The best way to have your say on the proposals is to complete our online consultation survey at: https://consultations.essex.gov.uk/essex-highways/dovercourt-public-realm-scheme. Alternatively, the survey can be downloaded and printed from the documents section of this webpage and returned to us in an envelope via Freepost at: FREEPOST ESSEX HIGHWAYS ENGAGEMENT TEAM.

You can also return the survey or send a response to the consultation by emailing us at: dovercourtpublicrealm@essexhighways.org.

Printed copies of the consultation survey and information about the proposed scheme are also available from Harwich Library or can be requested by emailing us.