THE ongoing regeneration of Sunderland’s seafront has been praised.
The plans to revive one of the city’s best-loved assets were awarded a commendation in the 2011 Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) North East Awards.
After a visit to Roker and Seaburn to learn more about the project, Richard Summers, national president of the RTPI, said: “Planners at Sunderland City Council are making good progress in planning and delivering the Sunderland Coastal Regeneration project.
“I was impressed to see the public realm improvements that have already been made and to see where the imaginative plans for major redevelopment will be realised as economic conditions return to allow market growth.”
Work on Sunderland’s seafront began in 2009 with the aim of breathing new life into the twin resorts of Seaburn and Roker.
A major consultation exercise, which attracted more than 2,500 responses, resulted in plans to create new events spaces, a heritage trail, new pier gates and the installation of a lighting scheme at Marine Walk in Roker.
At Seaburn, the city council has developed a detailed masterplan to provide high-quality indoor and outdoor facilities for residents and visitors all year round as a family-friendly resort.
Work on Marine Walk is progressing after the city council secured £1million from the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment Sea Change Fund in 2009, together with £500,000 match funding from the council, and this will deliver the first phase of the Marine Walk Masterplan.
The first phase of improvements at Seaburn is now complete, while plans to develop Seaburn Shelter as a cafe-restaurant with new public toilets are also progressing.
Coun Bryan Charlton, cabinet holder for prosperous city, said: “The seafront is one of the city’s best loved assets and I’m delighted that the Royal Town Planning Institute has commended our plans to regenerate it in their regional awards.
“This is very much a long-term project which will depend very heavily on private sector involvement so it’s not going to happen overnight but we’ve made a good start and people will see many more developments over the next few years.”