Ambitious nine-year plan revealed for Sunderland – promising £1.3billion investment and hopes for 20,000 new jobs

Sunderlands Economic Leadership Board members with the 3, 6, 9 vision document. In the foreground (l to r) Allison Thompson, John Seager and Cllr Paul Watson.
Sunderlands Economic Leadership Board members with the 3, 6, 9 vision document. In the foreground (l to r) Allison Thompson, John Seager and Cllr Paul Watson.

An ambitious blueprint for Sunderland’s future has been unveiled.

The 3,6,9 Vision, published this week, outlines plans to transform the city over the next nine years.

Those behind the new document say at least £1.3billion of public and private investment will be made to boost the local economy and hopefully create more than 20,000 new jobs.

The 3,6,9 Vision covers five key areas for Sunderland: the economy, housing, transport links, culture and education.

Key economic projects include the ongoing redevelopment of the former Vaux site in the city centre as well as plans for an International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP) on 150 hectares of land next to the A19 and north of Nissan – which hopes to bring 5,200 new jobs and £300million of private sector investment from international companies.

Housing is also a key issue for the city’s future, with the document outlining the need for a good mix of quality housing in Sunderland.

The blueprint says around 15,000 new homes are required by 2032. The Sunderland South Growth Area, which includes Chapelgarth, land off Burdon Lane, Cherry Knowles and South Ryhope, is earmarked for 3,000 new homes in the next 15 to 20 years.

Other sites identified for housing include Pennywell and Seaburn, the latter as part if a wider regeneration plan for the seafront site, including leisure developments, public spaces, cafes and restaurants.

Improved transport links are seen as a key factor, with the Sunderland Strategic Transport Corridor (SSTC) linking the planned IAMP with the city centre and Port of Sunderland .

The £117.6million New Wear Crossing, opening next spring, will see a third phase, the £57million dual carriageway linking the city centre and the Port of Sunderland begin next year and be complete within two years.

The final phase of SSTC will see work done to upgrade Wessington Way along the north bank of the Wear.

With Sunderland hoping to be named UK City of Culture in 2021, work has started on an arts and entertainment complex which will form the centrepiece of a new cultural quarter.

The MACQ project, (Music, Arts and Cultural Quarter) includes the Old Fire Station, off High Street West, which is being turned into a £3m restaurant, cafe, heritage centre and dance and drama studio due to open next autumn.

It is also hoped that, in future, further leisure and cultural uses for Gilbridge House and the magistrates’ court may be found.

The 3,6,9 Vision document also outlines plans for new retail development on the site of the former Crowtree Leisure Centre.

Coun Paul Watson, Leader of Sunderland City Council and Chair of the Economic Leadership Board said: “The 3,6,9 plan underpins our long-term strategic view which has brought jobs, investment and major developments to the city.

“Smart, sustainable Sunderland is a growing reality, one which we are all determined to continue to invest in to bring new opportunities to the people who live and work in the city, and to secure our position worldwide as a first-choice location for business investment.”

John Seager, chief executive of Siglion and chair of the Economic Leadership Board Infrastructure Results Group said: “The 3,6,9 vision is really inspiring stuff. It’s fantastic that we’re now building at Vaux, and our major development sites have the size and impact to make a huge difference to Sunderland’s long-term success.

“Our approach is very much about involving the community, and that is echoed in the 3,6,9 Vision which brings together all aspects of working and living to create the ingredients for a vibrant city which appeals to residents, businesses, visitors and students alike.”