THIS is the first image of what Sunderland’s £29million college campus could look like.
The sketches have been drawn up by designers as preparations are made to submit plans for the complex, which has been earmarked for the city centre.
Transformation of the plot, known as the Holmeside Triangle, could begin in the autumn, with the finished buildings to become the base for a host of courses which will move from the Hylton Campus.
A restaurant, barbers, hairdressers, beauty salon, spa and bakery would also be opened up to the public.
Yesterday, residents, businesses and potential students were given the first chance to look at the proposals and give their views at a consultation event at the civic centre.
It showed the outline of the site, what the design of the building could look like, but also detailed how there will be no parking onsite, with staff and students to be encouraged to use the nearby transport links and existing car park spaces.
Among them was Ged Maggiore, 52, from Houghton, who is a director of Louis cafe in Park Lane, which will neighbour the new college.
Ged, whose family has run the business for 40 years, said: “I think its brilliant for the city.
“It’s nice to see the area be rejuvenated and it’s what it definitely needs, to see a lot of people come back into the area.
“It was always thriving, but it’s gone a bit quiet and this is going to bring a lot of people back, as it should, as Sunderland has a lot to offer.”
Jim Murphy is secretary of The Railway Club, which is at the rear of Sinatra’s bar in Holmeside and adjoins the site, and Fred Warren is its chairman.
They have stressed to their membership, which stands at around 200, that the venue is not affected by the plans and have quashed rumours it’s closing.
They were also among the first to see the display.
Jim said: “Obviously we were worried that it was going to encompass the club as well with a compulsory purchase order and we would have to sell up, but we don’t enter any plans at the moment.
“It will be good for one side of Holmeside, but if you look across the road from it, it needs a bit of work, so you’re going to have one pristine area and the other derelict.
“But what it means for the city, it’s going to revamp that part, and that’s got to be good and it’s a double whammy because it’s education as well. It’s got to be better than what we have now.”
Fred added: “It might starts investment in the other buildings.
“But I can’t understand how there is no parking.”
David Howells, the college’s vice principal, was among the representatives on hand to discuss the plans. He said: “The staff are all really positive and excited about it.”