A PROJECT to open up access to a Wearside wonder has taken another step into the light.
City chiefs have approved a plan to find a contractor to carry out the third phase of Roker Pier’s restoration, and open its tunnel to visitors for the first time in its history.
Sunderland City Council has set aside £1.35million for the efforts, with the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) awarding £53,200 to back the first stage, which has seen work carried out to the lantern house.
Repairs to the pier deck will be completed in coming weeks.
Now, preparations are being made for a lottery cash bid to be submitted on December 5, to fund the third phase of work, with a response expected in March.
The council hopes the charity will grant 80 per cent of the money needed, between £500,000 to £550,000, and it will top that up with between £100,000 and £110,000 of its own funds.
To ensure work can begin swiftly, should the grant be awarded, the council’s cabinet has approved efforts to find a firm to carry it out next summer, if all goes to plan.
The council says it will not be out of pocket by launching the tender process now and states the full restoration of the pier is a key part of the regeneration of the seafront.
Coun John Kelly, cabinet member for public health, wellness and culture, said: “The work on the pier over the last few months has been astounding.
“I congratulate the regeneration team for making it a really good place to visit.” The cabinet praised the work carried out as part of the Marine Walk Masterplan, which was launched in 2010, for improvements to that section of the city’s coastline, and highlighted how busy it has become since its changes began to take shape.