SUNDERLAND’S £5million seafront regeneration has been given the thumbs-up from businesses.
The Echo revealed yesterday that the city council has won £2milion in funding from the Government’s Coastal Communities Fund, which it is to match with £800,00 from its own coffers to carry out work in preparation for the redevelopment of the Ocean Park area.
The authority has also ear-marked a further £2.3million to expand on improvement work already carried out at Roker.
The council has consulted residents and businesses in the area about what they want to see from the regeneration work.
“It is nice that the door is open and people are starting to look at what is happening on the seafront,” said Derek Winlow, who runs The Promenade pub.
Sunderland had failed to capitalise on its coastal location for too long, he said.
“We need to make the most of it,” he said. “When you come here every day and you see Roker and Seaburn, you realise they are fantastic assets for the area.”
Robert Latimer, of Latimer’s Delicatessen, said events such as the airshow were great for attracting visitors to the seafront, but there was a need to encourage them to come back.
“Anything we can do to improve the seafront is more than welcome,” he said.
“Hopefully, we can show off this beautiful asset we have got and make it more of a destination for people, so they will come down 365 days a year.”
The three seafront “cannonballs”, which played a major role in helping the city win a £1million contribution towards the regeneration of the seafront in 2010, will be arriving this summer. Inspired by the famous cannonball rocks found along the base of the cliffs at Roker, the three cannonballs are mobile pods that can be adapted for a variety of uses.
Andrew McCusker, of Martino’s Restaurant, said members of the seafront business forum were looking forward to getting their hands on the pods.
“We want to be able to put on live shows and events and hopefully these will help us in managing to do that,” he said.
“We need to do everything that we can to attract people to the seafront.”
Marriott Hotel sales manager Nicola Johnston hoped the work would be the catalyst for more.
“I think it is absolutely fantastic news,” she said. “Hopefully, this will attract more investment to the area. That would be great for us as a hotel but the seafront traders as a whole would see the benefit from it.”