Sunderland seafront lighting project wins award

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BRIGHT sparks who installed lighting at Sunderland seafront have scooped a national award.

The dramatic seafront lighting scheme at Roker has won the 2012 Local Government News Street Design Award.

Sunderland City Council put stiff competition into the shade with the project, designed with the help of people from the region.

It went up against a £28million innovation, put forward by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, to come first in the public lighting category of the awards.

The design, based on the much-loved Sunderland Illuminations, became reality with funding secured from the Cabe (Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment) Sea Change fund.

It was developed by Aurora Street Lighting with the council’s in-house landscape architects.

Cabinet secretary Coun Mel Speding said: “The brief was to develop a modern, sustainable take on the popular Sunderland Illuminations.

“We also asked people to give us their ideas through a design competition, which invited residents to choose a collection of different colour arrangements for different months of the year.

“This proved really popular with local schools and from the 100-plus entries received, we chose 15 winning designs, which included designs for each month of the year, Valentine’s Day, Bonfire Night and RNLI Day.”

The winning entrants were invited to switch on the lights at a launch event last December and the different colour schemes now take turns to be on display throughout the year.

The use of LED lighting has heightened the drama as well as the quality of lighting at the seafront, at the same time as reducing energy costs by 50 per cent.

Coun Speding added: “The lighting, along with other public realm improvements, has transformed Roker seafront and extended the lifetime of the resort into the evening.

“You can now see people using and enjoying the space every day and it’s also an attractive and dramatic events space.”

Barnes Park also came second in the Urban Green Space category of the same awards.

Laura Sharman, editor of Local Government News, who came up to Sunderland to present the award, said: “I am delighted to announce that Marine Walk has been chosen as the winner of the Public Lighting category in the 2012 Street Design Awards.

“Our judges were extremely impressed by the work Sunderland City Council has done in transforming the seafront and how the new lighting scheme will contribute to the economic success of the area.”

Twitter: @janethejourno