New £8.2million performance and arts venue approved for Sunderland’s cultural quarter

An artist's impression from Ainsworth Spark Associates showing how the Old Fire Station in High Street West might look.
An artist's impression from Ainsworth Spark Associates showing how the Old Fire Station in High Street West might look.
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A multimillion-pound arts and performance venue in an historic part of Sunderland has been given the seal of approval by planners.

The £8.2million landmark complex proposed by Sunderland Music, Arts and Culture (Mac) Trust will form the centrepiece of a new cultural quarter in the city.

The city is crying out for a venue of this nature

Coun Richard Bell

And now, Sunderland City Council’s Development Control (South) Sub-committee has unanimously voted in favour of the development, approving a full planning application for the build to commence, subject to condition.

Plans include creating an auditorium with outdoor performance space and open space on land at Dun Cow Street and Garden Place, opposite the former Central Fire Station, which is undergoing redevelopment.

Outlining the application, planning officer Paul McDonald said: “The only objection was from the council’s flood and coastal team.

“They have since withdrawn this objection based on the level of information given that run-off from the site will be sufficient.”

Coun Pat Smith said she was worried about the impact on car parking in the area, especially when the Vaux site is fully up and running.

However, highways officer Paul Muir said there would be sufficient spaces available at the nearby St Mary’s and Livingston Road car parks, as well as proposals to build a new multi-storey car park on the Vaux site itself.

Coun Richard Bell said: “It will be welcome. The city is crying out for a venue of this nature.”

Committee chairman Stuart Porthouse said: “I think I speak for everybody when I say we are looking forward to this development going ahead.”