New Thinking of Roadscape and Public Realm for the A66

The familiar sight of the A66 could soon look very different.

Middlesbrough Council is joining with Tees Valley Arts and Halcrow and the Royal Institute of British Architecture (RIBA) to commission an innovative landscape architecture proposals for the route through the town. The project will treat ‘Landscape Architecture’ as the art form of the Public Realm.

Artists and landscape designers from across the Europe will be invited to put forward ideas to make the journey through Middlesbrough more memorable.

Major developments along the A66 are the spur for the project, said Middlesbrough’s Executive Member for Regeneration, Councillor David Budd.

“The A66 is the link between many major projects getting underway in Middlesbrough”, he said.

“They include Middlehaven, the big changes in North Ormesby, the road improvements in the Newport-Hartington road area and the important East Middlesbrough Business Action Zone where we’re working with Redcar & Cleveland Council to lever in investment to support the firms there.

“We’ll work with RIBA and Tees Valley Arts to develop a scheme which will cover the whole A66 corridor, bringing major improvements to the built and natural environment and giving visitors and investors a real sense of arrival when they come to Middlesbrough.

“We have got an open mind about the ingredients of the scheme – Designers could focus on ‘Hard’ or ‘Soft’ landscaping like street furniture or planting, or probably a mix of both. We know that iconic images of a place can give a whole conurbation a distinct sense of identity and a “lift.” That is what we want in Middlesbrough – to give people confidence that it is town that’s moving forward.”

Rosi Lister, Director of Tees Valley Arts commented

“TVA are delighted to have been appointed by Middlesbrough Council to project manage this prestigious scheme. The Architectural competition being undertaken in conjunction with RIBA offers the chance to invigorate the A66 road corridor from Newport to Cargo Fleet with a sense of purpose through the creation of a world class work of landscape architecture that will meet the aspirations of the vibrant business district it serves.”

David Wood, Regional Director of Halcrow said

“We are keen to create a high way project that is about more than just getting you from point A to point B. We want to create a project that says you have arrived!”

Resources for the project have been secured from the government’s Single Programme, Tees Valley Regeneration and English Partnerships, Arts funding organisations and trusts will also be asked to contribute.

Peter is office co-ordinator at Tees Valley Arts. He has worked for over a decade as a freelance small business consultant @nealandco. You can follow him personally @pneal.