Rooms for your views

An artist's impression

An artist's impression

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Have your say

PLANS for a multimillion-pound hotel development in the heart of Sunderland have been unveiled.

The six-storey contemporary boutique hotel would have 125 bedrooms and play a key role in breathing new life into the city – and the developer is after your opinion.

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Developer GB Development Solutions is now appealing for Wearsiders to give their views on the proposals before it submits a formal planning application to Sunderland City Council.

The plans are for a development which would transform the site around Hind Street, between Sunderland University’s Chester Road campus and St Michael’s Way.

They include:

•A 125-bedroom six-storey hotel, with parking

•Terraced gardens

•A new pedestrian route to improve links between the university campus and the city centre

•Repairs and remodelling to the Grade II-listed building which house The Art Studio, with its extensions and outbuildings demolished.

The proposals see the hotel entered from Silksworth Row through a new public space, which would be overlooked by the lobby and restaurant/bar area. A drop-off zone for deliveries and arriving hotel guests would be created and the pavement and road widened.

Hope St would be stopped up and become hotel parking controlled by a barrier.

GB development Solutions’ Brendan Riley said the firm was in talks with potential operators for the hotel.

Subject to the plans getting the thumbs-up from the public, it was hoped to submit a formal plan towards the end of this month or the beginning of August, although it was too early to set a timescale for work to start.

The bid has today been welcomed by university bosses, who are backing the plans, which they say will bring jobs and much-needed facilities to the city.

Phil Marsh, director of facilities, said: “The university welcomes the location of a hotel at what will be a key gateway to the city campus.

“The public realm and landscaping works will improve the connectivity between the university and city centre and, combined with the refurbishment of the former Arts Studio building, will create a high-quality approach to the city.

“The development will see further private sector investment made into the city centre, creating jobs and supporting growth.

“The hotel will provide much needed support to the leisure and business tourism industries and in particular the university’s events and conference business, UniSpace.”

The development will join the new Travelodge now being built in High Street West.

Sunderland’s economy has suffered from a lack of hotel accommodation, with visitors to events such as the Stadium of Light concerts, the Airshow, Sunderland 10k run and Marathon of the North forced to stay outside the city centre.

The Hind Street plans are now on display in the windows of the Arts Studio and will remain on show until Wednesday, July 18.

A GBDSL spokesman said: “The scale of the hotel is carefully balanced against the Grade II Listed building whilst creating a high quality landmark development.

“The proposed hotel is sensitively located to respect and enhance the setting of the listed building.”

Anyone who wants to have their say on the plans should Richard Wilshaw, HOW Planning, 40 Peter Street, Manchester, M2 5GP, e-mail richard.wilshaw@howplanning.com, phone 0161 835 1333.

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