See the new River Wear footbridge set to link Sunderland Football Club's Stadium of Light with city centre

Past and present Sunderland footballers have welcomed plans for a new footbridge for fans heading between the club’s Stadium of Light ground and the city centre.

Thursday, 15th October 2020, 2:58 pm
Updated Thursday, 15th October 2020, 5:06 pm

Black Cats legend Jimmy Montgomery and current Black Cats captain Max Power have backed a vision from Sunderland City Council to create new links between the north and south sides of Sunderland as part of its new Riverside Sunderland Masterplan.

Two bridges are included in the £100m-plus blueprint – which aims to make Sunderland a “magnet city” by creating up to 10,000 new jobs and 1,000 new homes – with the first expected to be in place by 2023.

The pair agree that the plans be a win-win for the city and its football fans.

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An artistic impression of a new bridge linking Sunderland city centre and Sunderland Football Club's Stadium of Light ground to the north of the River Wear.

Power said: “Riverside Sunderland will connect the Stadium of Light to the city centre, meaning our supporters can make the most of the city centre before and after games.

"It will be fantastic to see the riverside come back to life, as a place to live, work and play.”

The footbridges – for use by pedestrians and cyclists - are included in a transformational plan for Riverside Sunderland that will see the former Vaux Brewery site and other surrounding areas revitalised with millions of pounds of investment.

The masterplan, drawn up by Sunderland City Council and unveiled earlier this week, includes pedestrian bridges across the river to support the growing number of people the authority says will move through the area as it becomes a thriving mixed-use community.

An aerial view of how the city centre and north side of the River Wear could look if the bridges are built.

The second is proposed to follow later in the 10-year programme of work.

Monty, famed for his saves in Sunderland’s 1973 FA Cup final victory, added: “When you look out from the Stadium of Light, you see the amazing riverside, it’s an unbelievable place.

“To see it developed into somewhere people can enjoy will be fantastic and a real boost for Sunderland.

"Helping people to easily move between the north side of the city – where the Stadium of Light stands – and the south side; the city centre, will be great for the club and supporters.”

Computer-generated images of the fully developed Riverside Sunderland project show bridges crossing the River Wear.

The first stands directly outside of The Beam and leads to a community of homes that will flank the riverside to the north as well as the club’s ground.

Councillor Graeme Miller, leader of Sunderland City Council, said: “The sight of thousands of fans spilling out of the Stadium of Light and over the Wearmouth Bridge is a familiar one, but it’s an indirect route and one that often means supporters end their evening, without delivering added economic impact by heading into the city centre.

“A direct footbridge into the vicinity of the Stadium of Light will be a fantastic addition to the city, when we see spectators return to watch Sunderland play.

"But it’s about so much more than just that. This is a place that will regenerate swathes of the city centre, creating an exciting new destination for Sunderland.

“We have an exceptional riverside, and developing it will enhance that, maximising the potential of parts of Sunderland that have been unused for decades. We’re thrilled to get regeneration on this scale underway.”

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