Two multi-million pound schemes that are part of Riverside Sunderland Masterplan which will transform the city centre are expected to take an important step forward this week.
The first concerns a footbridge over the River Wear that will link Sunderland city centre to the Stadium of Light. An application is expected to be made to Government to gain permission to progress with the pedestrian bridge that will connect the former Vaux Brewery site to the south of the river with Sheepfolds to the north.
Cabinet will meet on Tuesday and are set to agree to make the bid to Government, and – assuming legal permissions are granted – Sunderland City Council can then progress with detailed design work for the crossing before seeking local planning consent.
The bridge, expected to be completed by 2023, is a centrepiece of a delivery plan that was released in October that set out how Riverside Sunderland – comprising the former Vaux site, Farringdon Row, Galleys Gill, High Street West and Sheepfolds – will transform over the coming decade.
Leader of Sunderland City Council, Councillor Graeme Miller, said: “We’ve had some fantastic expressions of support for this crossing, which will boost connectivity between the north and south of the river, something that is key as we look to develop the whole Riverside Sunderland site into a vibrant place to live, work and play.
“By moving to the next stage, and seeking permission from the Government, we can ensure that we are on track to deliver this important piece of infrastructure for the city by 2023.”
Meanwhile, a new £14 million multi-storey car park planned for Farringdon Row which will provide between 500 and 750 spaces is expected to be approved by Sunderland City Council’s Cabinet this week.
It will stand on the edge of Riverside Sunderland and will cater for the increased number of people who will live, work and play in the city, as regeneration advances at pace.
If approved by Cabinet, more work will be undertaken on the design of the car park, before construction gets underway to complete it by 2022.
Coun Miller, said: “There is no mistaking the rigour and pace with which we are transforming the city centre, and with exciting new developments comes a need for supporting infrastructure that will ensure they enjoy maximum success.
“Making it easy for people to access the city centre is paramount to our goal of creating a vibrant place to live, work and play in the heart of our city, and we expect more and more people to be attracted to Sunderland, as we seek to create thousands of new jobs, hundreds of new homes and scores of fantastic new things to see and do in Riverside Sunderland and beyond.”
They are part of the comprehensive Riverside Sunderland Masterplan, described as ‘the most exciting regeneration site in Britain’, which involves a number of ground-breaking projects to “re-imagine” that part of the city, mapping out a number of significant developments that will regenerate this 33.2 hectare site, creating the UK’s first carbon-neutral urban quarter, building 1,000 new homes and creating office space for up to 10,000 workers.
Underpinned by a £100 million investment commitment from Legal & General – part of their combined £160 million pledge to this and one other site in the city – the key features of the masterplan include:
* 1,000 sustainable homes to rent and buy, in four stunning neighbourhoods housing 2,500 residents
* One million sq ft of modern office space providing 8-10,000 new jobs
* A new city centre site for a major life sciences/ healthcare facility
* Plans for a state-of-the-art library and community hub – the Culture House – that will attract 600,000 visitors a year to a new site in Keel Square
* The upgrading of St Mary’s Boulevard into a stylish new main street
* Transformation of Galley’s Gill into a landscape park, and new green spaces in the heart of the city
* Smart City infrastructure, that will make Sunderland an even better place to live, work and play.