Next store to be built on former Crowtree Leisure Centre site in Sunderland

Artist's impression of the new Bridges extension.
Artist's impression of the new Bridges extension.
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A Next store will be built on the former Crowtree Leisure Centre site in Sunderland, the Echo can reveal.

Plans have been submitted to the city’s council to create the new 45,000 sq ft, two-storey store and are set to be decided on by September.

Lnad between High Street West and Crowtree Road, Sunderland City Centre

Lnad between High Street West and Crowtree Road, Sunderland City Centre

Next currently has an outlet inside The Bridges shopping centre, although its lease expired a year ago.

It is expected that the store will be in the mould of Next’s “Home and Garden” outlets.

The report submitted to the council states: “Having investigated out of town locations and other options, Next have confirmed to the owners that they wish to remain in the city centre, providing a store meeting their needs can be provided at the shopping centre.

“As there are currently no stores of sufficient size, and no ability/availability to provide one via combining/extending existing units a new build unit is the only alternative available.

“Following the demolition of the swimming pool section of the Crowtree Leisure Centre, an area of land is however available to the north west corner of the shopping centre, adjacent to where the centre meets Crowtree Road.

“This land represents an excellent opportunity to expand the centre and provide Next with their requirements, whilst assisting with the public realm improvements proposed in this part of the city.

“The site is currently an area of temporary green open space, which has been created following the closure of the centre in October 2011 and its recent demolition, together with the former Brogan’s and Privilege nightspots.

“The site has been laid with grass, with a new pedestrian path crossing at a diagonal across the site.

“The pedestrian ramp linking Crowtree Road with the adjacent Bishopwearmouth Green is currently retained.”

The new store is expected to provide a boost to the Bridges itself, which first opened in 1970.

It was covered in 1988 and expanded in 2000, when the former Central Bus Station was demolished and moved to Park Lane Interchange.

It is now the main shopping destination of the city centre containing over 100 stores and attracting 21 million visitors each year.