Vaux site plans push forward as Sunderland City Council appoints private partner

Paul Watson

Paul Watson

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EFFORTS to regenerate Sunderland’s Vaux site are picking up pace after councillors chose a private sector partner to develop a number of key sites in the city.

A consortium led by construction company Carillion and Igloo Regeneration Ltd will form a joint venture with Sunderland City Council.

Cabinet members chose their preferred bidder at a meeting held behind closed doors at Sunderland Civic Centre after bids were submitted earlier this year.

This means there could finally be movement at the Vaux site, which has been standing empty for 14 years since the brewery closed in 1999.

Other key sites which will also be developed by partnership include Seaburn, Chapelgarth, Farringdon Row, Holmeside and parts of the East End.

Council leader Paul Watson said: “We were delighted at the high standard of the shortlisted bids, and it was a difficult task to choose the preferred bidder, but the commitment, track record and approach of the chosen consortium gave it the winning edge.

“This decision marks an important milestone in the joint venture agreement which will breathe new life into under-used publicly owned land in prime sites for development.

“The programme will invigorate key areas of the city and offer new opportunities for employment, housing, shopping and leisure.”

Carillion development director Neil McMillan said: “These projects will have a positive and lasting impact on those who live and work in Sunderland, as well as visitors, and they will also act as a catalyst for further inward investment.

“We look forward to engaging with local businesses and key stakeholders who are keen to play their part in helping to deliver this vision for Sunderland.”

John Tatham, partnerships director of Igloo Regeneration, said: “Igloo and Carillion believe that good design combined with a deep understanding of a place creates developments where people want to be.

“This, in turn, translates into demand for property, better values, successful businesses and ultimately successful, viable developments leading to economic growth. In evolving our proposals, we considered how the ages of commerce in Sunderland have influenced the city and how the design of the past can inform us in planning the future.”

The two other shortlisted bidders were Langtree Land and Property plc and a consortium including Ramboll, Calmont Project Services, Barratt Developments PLC, Kier Construction, BNP Paribas Real Estate Advisory & Property Management UK Limited.

Each of the three shortlisted bidders took part in lengthy dialogues with the council to help to develop and refine their proposals, first submitted earlier this year. The competitive dialogue stage closed last month, and the three bidders were invited to submit final tenders.

Once terms have been finalised with the Carillion and Igloo Regeneration consortium, the joint venture will be formally launched.