Parks, cliff top trails and bridge improvements revealed as part of £100m Riverside Sunderland masterplan

Further details about an ambitious riverside regeneration project have been unveiled.

Monday, 22nd February 2021, 5:33 pm

New parks, digitally-connected walking trails and major improvements to Sunderland’s Gill Bridge are promised as part of the ongoing Riverside Sunderland masterplan.

The work, detailed in a planning application lodged with Sunderland City Council, includes renovating and illuminating Gill Bridge, which is close to the former Vaux site.

Councillor Graeme Miller, the leader of the council, which is behind the £100m-plus project, said: “Riverside Sunderland is a naturally beautiful part of the city, but one that has been forgotten for many years.

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An artistic impression of how part of the the Riverside Sunderland project may look by 2030.

“As part of the vision to bring back to life Riverside Sunderland, we are proposing a range of stunning new pathways, exceptional connectivity and areas where people can rest and play, making the most of the city centre’s riverside location, something we have underplayed in the past.

“Much of the infrastructure proposed in this planning application will become increasingly important as the site is developed out more fully.

"These walking routes, pocket parks and attractive places to play will be used by the thousands of people who will live and work in Riverside Sunderland in the coming years.

"This really is a part of the city that will be totally transformed within the next decade.”

Proposals include an accessible 1km cliff top trail for people to move safely on foot or by bike and from where they will be able to enjoy the expansive views across the Wear Gorge.

The trail will link into the much-anticipated high level smart bridge, which is expected to connect the city centre and Sunderland’s Stadium of Light football ground by 2023, as well as new ultra-sustainable homes planned on the former Vaux site.

Digital connectivity will allow also the area to become an interactive space so that people can learn about the area’s history and take part in digitally-guided walks.

Cllr Miller added: “Connectivity is at the heart of our vision for Riverside Sunderland.

“We know that places can be animated in new and exciting ways, powered by connectivity, and this is the ambition for this part of the city. A place that maximises the natural beauty of the riverside, but uses the most cutting-edge technology to create a truly 21st Century urban quarter where people will live, work and play.”

Sunderland City Council has been awarded £4.5m via the Government’s Getting Building Fund to help deliver the improvements.

The fund is managed locally by North East Local Enterprise Partnership, whose chief executive, Helen Golightly, said: “Ensuring major regeneration projects like Riverside Sunderland can continue at pace is essential for our region’s economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

“The Getting Building Fund is designed to support shovel-ready projects in the North East that will create jobs and help our economy return to pre-COVID levels.

“The ambitious plans put forward by Sunderland City Council, which include the use of cutting edge 5G technology, demonstrate what a transformational project this will be for the city of Sunderland and the North-East region as a whole.”

Around 10,000 jobs and 1,000 new homes are planned over the next decade as part of the entire Riverside Sunderland project.

The work will transform a 33.2 hectare site across both sides of the River Wear near the city centre.

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In pictures: Visions of Sunderland in 2030 as part of £100 million Riverside Sun...

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