No more promises - council boss vows to deliver on Vaux site on the 20th anniversary of closure
Sunderland’s council leader insists “no more will Sunderland be a city of promise but instead a city of delivery”.
Coun Graeme Miller was speaking on the 20th anniversary of the loss of around 700 jobs following the closure of the landmark Vaux Breweries.
While the site has since become mired in controversy – including Tesco’s aborted plans to build a supermarket – Coun Miller maintains it will house nearly 3,000 employees “within the next few years”.
He said the first tenant for The Beam, the office block already occupying the land, will be announced later this summer.
Work will also begin by the end of the year on a “stunning” new City Hall to replace the council’s existing headquarters across the other side of the city in Burdon Road.
Coun Miller added: “The Vaux site has come to symbolise a city full of promise.
“But to realise its potential, a host of challenges and obstacles had to be bested.
“For two decades, the will to see the site transformed has grown, and now, finally, no more will Sunderland be a city of promise but instead a city of delivery, a place focused on maximising its vast potential.
“The Vaux site is coming back to life – in spectacular fashion. This summer, we will announce the first occupier of The Beam, bringing more jobs to the city centre. It’s a significant step forward and is just the start.
“Work will start on City Hall later this year, a stunning new building that will stand proudly as the civic heart of Sunderland – a place that is built to support people to achieve more and that will instill investor confidence, demonstrating our belief in the future of our city centre.
“It’s a huge leap of faith, but one we have taken because we are absolutely confident that pushing ahead with development in this part of the city is going to stimulate a transformation and the whole city centre will feel the effects of the investment we are attracting to this site.”
Coun Miller said the land, bought by the council in 2011, would also be home to “vibrant new places to live” with more details on “fantastic” properties to be announced before the end of the year.
He added: “Though our vision for the city centre starts with investment around Vaux, it is important to say that this is about the whole footprint of the city centre and we are shaping exciting plans for more leisure in other parts of the city.”
Tuesday’s 20th anniversary of Vaux’s demise is also marked by the launch of a commemorative DVD while Vaux enthusiasts are also holding a reunion night for former employees and “Vaux lovers” alike at the Chesters pub, in Chester Road, Sunderland, on Friday from 7pm. Entry is free.