'Exciting development' at ex-Wearside golf course moves step closer
Councillors have hailed plans to transform a former golf course into an eco park, cafe, garden and visitor centre after approving the next step for the development.
Sunderland City Council’s cabinet gave the go-ahead this week to commence the procurement process to redevelop the former Elemore Golf Course site, in Hetton.
Members also backed the subsequent awarding of the necessary contracts for capital works to help deliver the proposals for the 60-hectare site.
The initial work will include the redevelopment of the former golf club house, car park improvements and installation of a new car park, and is estimated to come in within the £600,000 budget currently set for the project.
Councillor Claire Rowntree, deputy leader of Sunderland City Council, who as lead member for the project, chairs the Elemore Project Group, said it is an “exciting development” for the region.
She said: “It is intended to work with local suppliers and contractors for all works on the site wherever possible to ensure the funding generated through the project is retained within the city.
“It is anticipated that, subject to required planning approvals, that the new garden centre, cafe, visitor centre and community space will be operational from early summer 2022, providing a real asset to the area.”
Planning applications are currently progressing for the change of use to the current building on the Elemore site, as well as creating additional garden centre outbuildings.
Proposals are also progressing to provide additional car parking and wider landscape works to the park areas.
The development will see the former golf club house be converted into a café, garden centre, visitor centre and community space, with the building to be accessible for all and support training for adults with disabilities
Bids are also in progress for external funding to support any potential further phases of work, according to cabinet reports.
The plans come following the Let’s Talk Elemore public consultation earlier this year, where local residents were asked about what they wanted to see on the site.
Cllr Graeme Miller, city council leader, said the proposals for the site showcase their commitment towards green policies.
He said: “It clearly shows the city’s green credentials, it clearly shows what we’re trying to do with green jobs, and I’m very, very happy to hear everyone is supporting it so strongly.”