THIS is how Sunderland’s seafront could look after a £5million facelift revealed today.
The city council has won £2million from the Government’s Coastal Communities Fund for a project that could create more than 1,000 jobs.
The authority will add £800,000 to fund preparatory work for the long-term development of the Ocean Park site and Seaburn seafront.
Work will include a second phase of promenade improvements; changes to Lowry Road behind Martinos to improve traffic flow; environmental work in Cut Throat Dene to make it more attractive for wildlife and more of a natural play area and improvements to Whitburn Road, including better crossing points.
Council bosses have also earmarked a further £2.3million to expand on the work already carried out at Roker, which will see promenade improvements for Marine Walk, the refurbishment of the existing play area and installation of new equipment and £1.35million invested in a rolling restoration for the 110-year-old Grade II listed Roker Pier, starting with work on the lantern house this summer.
It is hoped the ambitious scheme could create 521 jobs indirectly plus 525 temporary construction jobs.
The private sector is also on board, with plans to convert and extend the lighthouse keepers’ cottages near the entrance to Roker Pier, into a high quality cafe and turn the former Seaburn Shelter into a cafe/restaurant/bar, while Sunderland-based Fitz Architects has unveiled plans for a development at Marine Walk, with apartments upstairs and commercial and retail units beneath.
Cabinet Secretary, Councillor Mel Speding said: “This is a really exciting time for the seafront.
“We’ve seen a number of improvements since we first held our seafront consultation in 2009 and things are really starting to gather pace.
“This is borne out by the level of private sector interest we’re beginning to attract.
“Private sector investment is key to helping us deliver the kind of facilities people tell us they want.
“That’s why today’s announcement is so important, because it’s all about helping us fulfil our long-term strategy to make the Ocean Park site more attractive to a private developer who can take it forward as a leisure-led development for families to use all year round.While we’re not talking about something that’s going to happen overnight, the future development of the Ocean Park site will be a major catalyst in the regeneration of the seafront, helping us deliver significant economic, cultural, environmental and social improvements to create a seafront we can all be proud of.”
The bid was put together with the support of local traders including the Marriott Hotel and the Sunderland Business Network.
The council is seeking a partner to develop the 7.37 hectare Ocean Park in line with the Seafront Regeneration Strategy and Seaburn Masterplan.
Clinton Mysleyko, of Fitz Architects, said: “We are excited about the new proposals at the seafront. Working hard with Sunderland Council we have had a huge involvement in the proposed regeneration after gaining planning approvals on the new bar/restaurant at the former Seaburn Shelter, along with the new quality cafe at Pier Cottages, Roker.
“We have also just submitted an exciting planning application for a mixed-use development at Marine Walk, in the hope of creating a new destination for the city.
“The coastline is an important feature for Sunderland which is currently under-used so we are proud to be a key figure in the regeneration proposals.”