The combination of outstanding architecture and urban design with this extraordinary landscape setting will produce something truly remarkable. It will be a very special place to live, an exceptional place to work and great destination for leisure, recreation and culture.
At the heart of our new urban quarter is the revitalised Riverside Park, which includes the valley of Galley’s Gill, both banks of the River Wear and bands of woodland. This will be restored to create a superb people’s park, with an improved paths network, lighting, new spaces for play and exercise, a café-pavilion, and a dedicated site for community growing.
A year-round programme of events and festivities will animate the space and attract visitors. Woodland management, planting and a new maintenance regime will enhance the biodiversity value of the whole site, creating new habitats for birds, insects and mammals.
The park will be a focal point for walking and cycling, with connections to the rest of the city, including the two university campuses. An early priority will be the construction of a new high-level bridge linking Vaux to Sheepfolds, following the course of the Keel Line. A second, low-level bridge is planned to connect Galley’s Gill to Wearmouth riverside. These links will encourage residents, workers and visitors to move freely around Riverside Sunderland – at all times of day and throughout the year.
Sunderland’s cultural offer has been transformed in recent years, and the completion (in 2021) of the 450-seat Auditorium will be another key step.
The masterplan includes proposals to create the Culture House, on a flagship site in Keel Square. Inspired by examples from across the UK and Europe, the Culture House will be a vibrant, multi-purpose building. It will provide a much-needed home for a new city library, targeted services for children and families, and a local studies and archive centre in the historic heart of the city. It will also contain facilities where communities can make, create and perform, and a café and social space which will become a focal point for life in Riverside Sunderland.