Major facelift for Sunderland shopping centre

The Bridges entrance at Market Square, Sunderland
The Bridges entrance at Market Square, Sunderland
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A SHOPPING centre entrance is poised to get a major makeover.

Plans have been drawn up to spruce up the main way into the Bridges, from Market Square, pictured right.

Bridges owner Land Securities has submitted a planning application to Sunderland City Council, outlining its proposals to alter the “dated” and “tired” looking area.

It hopes the new design “will provide a much-improved façade to the square, which will vastly improve the environment for the people of Sunderland.

“The original entrance has altered somewhat from its original design, back in 1988, and its current appearance can be described as uninviting and disjointed, giving a negative appearance for the public.”

The scheme includes an arc-shaped extension into Market Square from the centre, at the back of Greggs, which would include a new café.

Details have been included in a design and access statement, which accompanies the planning application.

It said: “The design concept was to create a modern pavilion-style unit, that would create a dynamic approach to the main entrance of the Bridges Shopping Centre.

“The curved facade will create a light and airy unit, benefiting from views out over the activity and movement through Market Square.

“With clean lines and minimal structure on view, the unit will have a floating canopy surrounding the façade, which will provide solar shading and also dry passage into the shopping centre.”

The single storey unit would be about 4.2 metres tall.

The design document, drawn up by Yorkshire-based Bowman Riley Architects, added: “The scale or the proposed unit has been designed to fit unobtrusively into the existing Market Square façade, and will project about seven metres extra into the square from the existing Greggs unit.”

Last year, Sunderland City Council announced plans to spend £1million improving Market Square itself. The proposals included new paving with feature lighting and power sockets for events, moveable seats which can be arranged for different purposes and improved seat lighting.

As reported, The Bridges also plans changes at its High Street West entrance, with a new Primark store set to be built as part of a £15million expansion.

Public consultation on the café proposal runs until March 8.

Last week we reported that one in five shops in the city centre were empty.