A CITY councillor claims Wearside has lost out to South Shields in the race to attract leisure spending.
The Echo revealed this week that Sunderland City Council had won £2million in funding from the Government’s Coastal Communities Fund.
That will be boosted with £800,000 from its own coffers to carry out work in preparation for the redevelopment of the Ocean Park area.
The authority has also earmarked a further £2.3million to expand on improvement work already carried out at Roker.
But Fulwell ward councillor George Howe believes the city is still trailing behind South Tyneside.
“The latest news that Sunderland is to be given a £2million grant from the Government is good news, but hardly great news when one compares the amounts of investment being ploughed into the seafront of South Shields.
“For years, Sunderland’s seafront has been ignored and by extension neglected.
“Now, the imminent closure of the Crowtree Centre will reduce leisure facilities in Sunderland still further.
“The council does not seem to have any plans for replacing Crowtree and according to the bowling club members, who have used the centre for a number of years, the council will not inform them of any future replacement provision, nor discuss the closure with them.
“On the other hand, South Shields has already attracted some £22.5million of private investment plus a multimillion pound purpose-built leisure activity which will shortly be opening its doors to the public.
“Meanwhile, leisure provision on Sunderland seafront, such as it is, is dreary to a point of distraction to residents and visitors alike.
“While our seafront dithers in a state of hiatus, our neighbours to the north and south demonstrate ‘can do’ philosophy and put it into practice.
“Sunderland City Council deems it is not the the ‘Sunderland way’, preferring instead to produce strategies and dust-collecting Masterplans attempting to placate the disappointed public.
“Thank heaven we have a good beach and an outstanding coastline.”
However, Sunderland Central MP Julie Elliott, whose ward covers the seafront, said the regeneration was good news.
“I am delighted to learn Sunderland has been awarded £2million from the Coastal Communities Fund to support the regeneration of the Seaburn seafront.
“This project will create over 500 jobs long-term as well as over 500 construction jobs.
“The project will attract £78million private sector investment into the city.
“We are facing a triple-dip recession and economic recovery under this Government’s austerity programme is a long way off. The Seaburn regeneration project will provide a much-needed economic boost for the city.”