Call for rethink on Sunderland’s Bridges extension

Artist's impression of the new Bridges extension.
Artist's impression of the new Bridges extension.
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Sunderland Civic Society has urged planning bosses to reject plans for an extension to the city’s Bridges shopping centre.

Plans have been submitted to the city council to create a new 45,000 sq ft, two-storey Next store on the former Crowtree site.

The current scheme will not allow for the future development of the land between the proposed store and High Street West.

Sunderland Civic Society spokesman

But the civic society has called for a rethink.

“The current scheme will not allow for the future development of the land between the proposed store and High Street West,” said a spokesman.

“This is important, as there could be a significant need for future additional floorspace and to create a shopping frontage along the whole of Crowtree Road which will link to Keel Square and the Vaux site, as well as (hopefully) attracting more shoppers to the western end of High Street West.

“The design and massing of the building will do nothing to improve the setting of The Londonderry, an important urban scale early 20th century listed building.

“A new area of ‘public realm’ is proposed. There is no over-riding need for this.

“Keel Square provides a large urban square nearby, complemented by one in front of the old fire station. Bishopwearmouth Green and Town Park have potential to meet the need for more ‘green’ space.

“If the proposed store were turned through 90 degrees, giving a longer frontage to Crowtree Road, the service area could be extended to enable the longer term development of the remainder of the site.”

Bridges boss Andy Bradley said he was aware of the society’s comments: “We appreciate the feedback and interest shown in the proposals from all parts of the community,” he said.