Designing 21st Century Sunderland

Tuesday, March 17, 2020
View of Riverside Sunderland

Five key projects for Riverside Sunderland and the city centre are moving to their next steps.

Earlier this month, as part of its 2020/2021 budget, the City Council earmarked £36.2m for works at Farringdon Row, £9m towards a 500 space multi-storey car park and a £7.4m retail development at the Crowtree site.

Funding is part of a £270m council investment programme over the next 12 months and takes the authority's investment programme over the next four years to £450m.

A £6m decision on design, feasibility and development works to progress Farringdon, the multi-storey, a footbridge over the River Wear, Crowtree and Railway Station development are due at Sunderland City Council's Cabinet when it meets next week.

The multi-storey car park has been earmarked for Farringdon Row. This would help maximise development opportunities at the former Vaux brewery site and reduce city congestion.

Leader of Sunderland City Council, Councillor Graeme Miller said: "The £6m reflects the size and importance of these projects. This is very probably the biggest allocation of funding this council has made for feasibility and design works. 

"The council and its partners in the private and public sectors are deadly serious about building a 21st century city and our City Plan for a more dynamic, healthy and vibrant Sunderland." 

A larger proposal for re-building the railway station and redevelopment of the southern main entrance is currently part of the bid to the Government's Transforming Cities fund. A further study will look at the station’s ‘sub-standard’ northern entrance.

Two ideas for the footbridge are outlined in the report to Cabinet. These are: a high level bridge between the former brewery site and the city's Keel Line to near the Stadium of Light at Sheepfolds. Or at a lower level between the Galleys Gill Riverside Park to link up with the C2C cycle route. 

Cllr Miller said: "It's well-known that for several years there's been ideas and aspirations to have a new pedestrian and cycle bridge from the city centre to the northern side of the city. 

"The recent publication of the Sunderland Riverside masterplan has also highlighted that potential. 

"A high level bridge would improve links from the city centre to the stadium and promote development on both sides of the river. A bridge from Galleys Gill would help bring the park back into use and, again, promote more development on both sides of the river."

At Farringdon, the Cabinet report outlines how the council is in negotiations with a client about a new building and lease of the site. For Crowtree, further studies and cost estimates will be drawn-up and presented to the council.

At the former brewery site, the Beam building now includes tenants such as home delivery group Ocado and work is progressing at the neighbouring City Hall, which will be the council's new HQ alongside other public sector partners. In November, Legal & General announced it was committing £100m towards developing a new core business district as part of Riverside Sunderland and supporting the creation of up to 3,000 new jobs.

Cllr Miller added: "We are making further decisions on more important developments for our city. These studies and designs for Farringdon Row, the Railway Station, Crowtree and Riverside Sunderland, are all part of this council's City Plan and drive to make Sunderland the best medium-sized city in the UK."

The Cabinet meets from 2pm at Sunderland Civic Centre. 

In the last 12 months:

In the city centre, there have been several major investment announcements, including a £100m commitment from Legal and General, that will see Riverside Sunderland transformed, with the addition of City Hall and two further office developments on the site of the former Vaux Brewery.

Among other developments are a 450-seater auditorium, that is now under construction in the city centre’s Minster Quarter; a new business centre, in the former River Wear Commissioners Building, the transformation of the Elephant Tearooms and the historic Mackie’s Quarter, which is being brought back to life by Sunderland developer Henry Kirtley.