Bid to build new bridge across Sunderland's River Wear moves closer

Plans to demolish a former builder’s yard and office to make way for a new footbridge over the River Wear have been approved.

Thursday, 11th November 2021, 1:20 pm
Updated Friday, 12th November 2021, 1:51 pm

Back in October 2021, Sunderland City Council’s planning department received an application for a site off Easington Street in the Sheepfolds area.

The scheme proposed demolishing disused buildings as part of wider regeneration efforts set out in the council’s Riverside Sunderland Masterplan.

This includes a new high-level pedestrian and cyclist crossing connecting the former Vaux Brewery site to the Sheepfolds area, which was approved by city councillors in March 2021.

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The proposed new footbridge over the River Wear.

According to planning documents submitted on behalf of Sunderland City Council, the site of the builder’s yard and office is within the ownership of the local authority – with the site also earmarked for redevelopment in the future.

A supporting statement submitted with the demolition plan reads: “The site forms part of the Riverside Sunderland Masterplan and is located within the Sheepfolds area which is proposed to become a new residential neighbourhood with some commercial and education uses on the periphery.

“The masterplan outlines that the former builder’s yard and office will become an area of public amenity space, known as Sheepfolds Square.”

The former builder’s yard is largely constructed of a corrugated metal roof and walls and sits adjacent to the Grade II listed former North Eastern Railway Stables.

Former Builder’s Yard And Office 7 & 8 Easington Street Sheepfolds Picture: Google

In a consultation statement, the Sunderland Civic Society were supportive of the demolition as an “essential pre-requisite to the construction of the proposed pedestrian bridge over the river, and the wider regeneration of the Sheepfolds area”.

The charity also asked the council to consider acquiring the adjacent listed stables with a view to securing restoration to a viable use and making the site a “focal point in the regeneration of the wider area”.

The planning approval is subject to demolition and protected species method statements being submitted and approved, alongside other ecology conditions.

For more information on the application for the former builder’s yard and office, visit Sunderland City Council’s online planning portal and search reference: 21/02346/DEM

Although the southern and northern gable walls will not be demolished under this application, these areas will be subject to a separate listed buildings application.