Dazzling developments, 10,000 jobs and new culture venue part of huge new masterplan unveiled for transforming Sunderland city centre

A dazzling new masterplan which will reinvent the heart of Sunderland has been unveiled today.

Monday, 12th October 2020, 9:00 am
Updated Monday, 12th October 2020, 5:53 pm

The Riverside Sunderland Masterplan, which sets out a detailed blueprint for the regeneration of a key city centre quarter with sweeping views across the river, has been released by Sunderland City Council.

Describing it as ‘the most exciting regeneration site in Britain’, the a 176-page document includes a number of ground-breaking projects and sets out how the council will begin the rebirth of a 33.2-hectare site on both sides of the River Wear.

The vision is to create the UK’s first carbon-neutral urban quarter. Key features of the masterplan include:

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A dazzling new blueprint has been unveiled for Sunderland city centre

:: 1,000 sustainable homes to rent and buy, in four stunning riverside neighbourhoods housing 2,500 residents

:: One million sq ft of modern office space, in a new central business district, providing 8-10,000 new jobs

:: A new city centre site for a major life sciences/ healthcare facility

:: Plans for a state-of-the-art library and community hub – the Culture House - that will attract 600,000 visitors a year to a new site in Keel Square

A dazzling new blueprint has been unveiled for Sunderland city centre

:: The upgrading of St Mary’s Boulevard into a stylish new main street, and the construction of new connectivity for walkers and cyclists across the River Wear

:: Transformation of Galley’s Gill into a superb landscape park, and new green spaces in the heart of the city

:: Smart City infrastructure, that will make Sunderland an even better place to live, work and play.

The plan, which has been developed by the council working with what they say are a world-class team of regeneration and built-environment specialists, will reinvigorate the city centre, bringing new residents, workers and visitors to the heart of Sunderland, helping to support traders by day and night.

Sunderland City Council chief executive Patrick Melia and council leader Graeme Miller

Councillor Graeme Miller, leader of Sunderland City Council, said the programme was underpinned by a £100million investment commitment from Legal & General – part of the company’s combined £160million pledge to this and one other site in the city – the masterplan will create a spectacular city centre destination – a place to live, work and play.

“Riverside Sunderland will transform a part of the city that has vast potential. It’s a masterplan that will reinvigorate the city in a wider sense too – creating a place we can be proud to call the heart of Sunderland,” said Cllr Miller.

“It’s a vision that we know is deliverable, and that will be truly game-changing for Sunderland. We’re aiming high because it’s what our residents deserve and it’s what the city needs – vision backed by a determination to deliver.”

In 2023, Riverside Sunderland will host the month-long Future Living Expo, a high-profile event which will showcase life in the new urban quarter. UK and international visitors will be drawn to the first of the new neighbourhoods on the former Vaux Brewery site.

Sunderland City Council chief executive Patrick Melia and council leader Graeme Miller

Cllr Miller said the plan would revitalise the whole city, breathing new life into the city centre, and putting Sunderland on the map as an exciting place to live, work and play.

“Riverside Sunderland is just the beginning,” he said. “Sunderland is springing back to life.

"We’re seeing more and more investment flooding into the city. The private sector is alive to the opportunities and that is bringing about transformation at a pace not seen for decades.

“This will be a ‘magnet city’. Aspirational families will move here. Corporates will see this as a place they want to do business – and their people will spend money in the city centre stimulating new jobs and business growth.

“Visitors will come to enjoy our unique offer – riverside, seaside and city centre. We will attract people – we will reinvent the heart of Sunderland and send a message that this is the place to be."

He added: “The masterplan is our blueprint for the development of Sunderland, and we’re very proud to be driving it.”

Sunderland City Council council leader Graeme Miller and chief executive Patrick Melia

Sunderland City Council’s bold and ambitious plans is already underway, with the first wave of projects moving forward, including the construction of new City Hall, and the 450-seat Auditorium, part of the Fire Station arts complex.

Work will start soon on the 120-room Holiday Inn in Keel Square and a planning application has been lodged for two new buildings in the central business district that will create 200,000 sq ft of modern office space.

Sharon Appleby, head of business operations at Sunderland Business Improvement District, said: “I think the news around the Riverside Sunderland masterplan is just fantastic. It's very, very exciting news for the city.

“It's brilliant to see things really taking shape on that site already, never mind the new things that are coming. The office buildings will make a huge difference to the city centre with the number of people working here who will make their way into the heart of Sunderland.

"Also the plans and the real ambition for more people to live in the city centre is fantastic - we need that, so that we can help the economy throughout the whole day and into the evening.

"And from a connectivity point of view, it's brilliant to be able to connect the two sides of the river together, with some really good quality development on the other side of the Wear actually connecting back into the city centre. That will be really positive for all of the businesses that operate in the city centre.”

:: To read the full Masterplan, and to keep up to date with the latest developments on Riverside Sunderland, visit www.riversidesunderland.com or search @Riversidesund on social media.

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A dazzling new blueprint has been unveiled for Sunderland city centre