Curious cannonball pods to land in Sunderland

POD TRIO: The cannonball huts.
POD TRIO: The cannonball huts.
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CANNONBALLS are coming to Sunderland seafront.

Three cannonball pods could be placed in Marine Walk in Roker, which councillors hope will fire up a multimillion-pound regeneration scheme.

One has been set aside as a kiosk selling coffees and ice cream, another is to be used to run education sessions and the third would have a flexible use for performances and other events.

The steel-and-oak designs were inspired by the cannonball rocks formed on Roker’s coastline 238million years ago.

They have been built by a firm which has made pieces for the Olympic Games and Golden Jubilee celebrations.

The project is being led by Sunderland City Council, which has applied for planning permission to place the moveable pods on the seafront. It follows a £1million award from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to the Sea Change fund, plus £500,000 pledged by the council to push on with the first phase of the Marine Walk Masterplan.

Cabinet secretary Councillor Mel Speding said: “Essentially they’re mobile spaces that can adapt themselves to a variety of uses.

“The pods played a major role in helping secure the Sea Change award.

“We think two of the pods would lend themselves particularly well to use by community groups who would like to meet up at the seaside. We’ve already had quite a bit interest from some of the community groups we’ve been talking to, and it may be that we appoint a community organisation to manage them and then book them out to other groups.

“They could even be put together with a stage in between to create a performance area.”

He added: “I think they could also be a fantastic facility for any school groups visiting the seaside, so that’s also something we’re going to be looking at.”

The cannonballs, which have a diameter of 3.5metres, will be moved by tractors and powered by their own wind turbine and solar panels.

The proposals are part of a £5million facelift of the coast up to Seaburn.