First glimpse at plans for former Crowtree site

Artist's impression of the new Bridges extension.
Artist's impression of the new Bridges extension.
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Here it is - a first glimpse of the future of Sunderland’s Bridges shopping centre.

Shoppers will get a first look at the expansion plans this weekend, with an exhibition of the proposed development going on display in the centre.

This is a very exciting time for the Bridges and we hope as many people as possible will come and view the plans and let us know their thoughts.

Andy Bradley

The new scheme, on the former Crowtree lesiure centre site, includes a new large store for an as-yet-unnamed leading retailer next to the centre and will provide improved public spaces and new parking facilities.

As part of the planning process, local people are being given the opportunity to share their views and with that in mind, an informal exhibition showcasing the plans will be on view on Saturday, from 10am to 4.30pm, and on Sunday, from 11.30am to 4pm.

Visitors to the exhibition, in Central Square at the Bridges, will be invited to give their feedback, or alternatively they can view the plans and give their feedback on line at www.thebridges-shopping.com from Oct 17.

All feedback and comments are welcomed by Nov 2 2015.

“This is a very exciting time for the Bridges,” said Andy Bradley, Centre Director.

“And we hope as many people as possible will come and view the plans and let us know their thoughts.”

An extension to the centre has been in the pipeline since council chiefs announced plans to demolish the old Crowtree Leisure Centre in February 2013.

The plan was to demolish the High Street West end of the building from the dividing walkway north, with only the sections above the Crowtree Road Bridges extension retained, open up the area between the back of the building and Sunderland Minster.

Sunderland City Centre Traders’ Association threw its weight behind the demolition plans: “The Crowtree site is a key location with great potential to support the growth of the city centre,” said spokesman Giles McCourt.

“While the decline and subsequent closure of Crowtree was a great loss to the city centre, we must move with the times and look to the future.

“Sunderland City Centre Traders’ Association fully supports the council’s decision to redevelop the site, even the proposal to landscape the area in the short term has to be an improvement. The location is a prime spot for expanding the retail and leisure, so is likely to attract interest from investors and developers.”