A blueprint showing how the area around the Stadium of Light could be transformed into a sporting and leisure village by 2030 has been unveiled.
The Stadium Village Masterplan describes a vision for new sporting facilities - that could include a velodrome, ice arena and indoor climbing wall - as well as a new conference arena, hotel, restaurants and bars on land close to the home of Sunderland AFC.
Other suggestions in the draft document - which will be discussed by the city’s council cabinet next week - include 200 new homes, a creative business hub and landscaped parkland.
The area covers 30 hectares around the Stadium of Light, with the “dramatic location” and its views across the River Wear highlighted for making it an attractive prospect.
It is hoped private investment will fund the developments on the former Wearmouth Colliery site and neighbouring Sheepfolds industrial area, with the papers drawn up to guide backers and landowners about future use of the land.
Government funding programmes and Sunderland City Council’s capital programmes are also suggested.
If the right balance is struck, the area will become an exciting and lively place to live, work and visit during the day, in the evening and at weekends.Sunderland City Council
It has been drafted up following discussions between the council, Sunderland AFC, the Foundation of Light, Everyone Active, which runs the Aquatic Centre on behalf of the council, and developer Siglion, a partnership between the authority and construction firm Carillion.
Cabinet members are being recommended to draft Stadium Village Masterplan for consultation and as interim planning guidance.
Sections of land are owned by the club, Homes and Communities Agency, Siglion, Edward Thompson printers, Nexus, as well as other private parties.
The draft document says the council has acquired a number of sites in the Sheepfolds areas, in particular to the north, which is filled with industrial units.
It is hoped work will “kick start” the area’s redevelopment, with businesses to move through gradual relocation.
Councillor Mel Speding, the council’s cabinet secretary, said: “We’re all proud of our heritage and culture in Sunderland and we all want to see development that brings more businesses and jobs, more leisure opportunities, and more housing choices.
“This Masterplan is about ensuring that the area around the Stadium of Light is enhanced and sympathetically developed in the future.
“Developers need to see guidelines and an in-depth study and appreciation of how and what should be developed on the north of the river can help them, and attract them.
“It’s a very important part of our city and, subject to next week’s meeting, the city council will be consulting with the public and with businesses on this draft masterplan.
“Like Vaux, this is a former industrial area and a brownfield site that is being brought back into use and it has further development potential.
“The club and others have recognised what an excellent site it is and I am sure others will too.
“The council consulted recently on design and development guidelines for the Minster Quarter and so a similar process is being suggested here for Stadium Village.
“While we all recognise our history and heritage, our city has also to look to its future. These design and development guidelines are pointers to our city’s future.”
The report states: “The impetus provided by the existing sports facilities, combined with future development in the Sheepfolds area, will change perceptions of the area and encourage greater investment.
“Sunderland City Council believes this masterplan framework document will herald a new chapter in the evolution and development of Stadium Village.
“If the right balance is struck, the area will become an exciting and lively place to live, work and visit during the day, in the evening and at weekends.
“It is envisaged that the sites with the riverside views will be most attractive to developers and given control and ownership of these sites will come forward in advance of other development.
“The development of these sites has the potential to build investor confidence and set a benchmark for design quality in the Sheepfolds area.”
It said: “An adopted Masterplan for Stadium Village will strengthen the council’s ability to ensure that individual developments do not take place in isolation and will facilitate a co-ordinated approach to development in the area.
“The draft Masterplan proposes to create mixed-use developments of national reputation based on the principles of good urban design.”
The report will be discussed by the council’s cabinet meeting in committee room one of the Civic Centre on Wednesday at 2pm.
WHAT COULD COME FROM THE MASTERPLAN:
*A leisure centre or sporting attraction - known as the “leisure box” development - could become the largest number of facilities of their kind in the North East, with Hay Street identified as a potential location.
Potential attractions could include an indoor climbing wall, ice arena, velodrome, trampolining, skate venue, soft play, indoor athletics and basketball, with the suggestion many could be housed within a sports hall which could also be a conference and music venue.
*The former engine shed on Hay Street and old Railway Stables in Easington Street are proposed as a base for food and drink business or creative industries or start up firms.
*New hotels and events spaces to support the stadium, the Beacon of Light, Hilton hotel and Vaux site as venues for national and international sporting and cultural events.
A “striking new” hotel and conference centre is proposed for the south west side of the football ground.
A 4* boutique hotel, conference centre and wedding venue on the south east corner of the south stand could take advantage of views across the river thanks to its “dramatic cliff top setting.”
*Up to 200 new homes, such as apartments, townhouses, duplex, bungalows and Tyneside-style flats, could be built in the Sheepfolds area.
The area’s rail heritage could be used to inspire designs of homes for couples, families and first time buyers, as well as downsizers, empty nesters and students, with cycle paths and green spaces to be incorporated into the estates.
*Restaurants, entertainment, culture and performance venues, with eating places looking onto Stadium Way and the route from St Peter’s Way.
The former Railway Stables is touted as a potential building to become a bar and restaurant, with the suggestion become a micro-brewery.
It could also host a series of businesses and pop up stalls, with Newcastle’s Boilershop noted as an example of how it could work,
*A base for arts, media and publishing firms, generating jobs and supporting the housing plans, with projects such as the Toffee Factory and Hoults Yard in Newcastle highlighted as a success.
Again, the former stable block and engine shed could be used to house businesses, with exhibition spaces and a gallery also mooted for the area along with help for graduate start up businesses.
*Improved and connected green spaces, with pedestrians and bikes to be given priority over vehicles.
A clifftop walkway would serve the area and take advantage of the river views, with areas for residents and the public, with the riverside space to be the “green lungs” of the area.
Play areas, outdoor gyms and fitness trails, climbing areas and bouldering walls, tree-top platforms, den making and education on wildlife are detailed.
A Stadium Plaza to the south east area of the South Stand would create a flexible outdoor space and fan zone - although Sunderland AFC shut down its effort to run one at the end of last season.