Network of LED light bars to be installed on Wearmouth Bridge for Sunderland Illuminations and other events

An impressive temporary lighting network is to be installed on Wearmouth Bridge as part of the Sunderland Illuminations.

Tuesday, 5th October 2021, 5:52 pm

City chiefs put forward proposals to install 100 silver-coloured LED temporary lighting bars on the Grade II-listed structure “to illuminate the Wearmouth Bridge to create a route of light from the seafront to the City Centre as part of the Sunderland Illuminations festival”.

And the plans have now been approved by Sunderland City Council’s Planning and Highways Committee.

Permissions will allow the lights to go on from November 18, 2021, and they be switched off on January 3, 2022, when the festival ends.

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A network of light bars is to be installed on Wearmouth Bridge.

However the application gives temporary permission for the lights to be in place until the end of March 2022 and allow them to be used to commemorate any significant dates or support any outdoor events during this period.

Council planning officers told councillors the benefits will “outweigh” any temporary harm the scheme would cause.

They said: “The temporary lighting installation will also provide public benefits, lighting up this iconic symbol of the city and helping to promote the city and to attract visitors to it as part of the Sunderland Illuminations Festival.”

A planning report stated although the proposals will cause “some harm to the appearance and significance” of the Grade II-listed bridge, this will be time limited, with no fixings drilled into the supporting columns.

Planning permission has also previously been granted for similar temporary schemes.

Cllr Niall Hodson, speaking at the meeting on Monday, called for officers to see if there was an arrangement which could be put in place to save the application for the temporary instalment having to come forward each year.

He said: “The lighting set up now is much more streamlined, much less noticeable.

“I’m curious whether we might ask the conservation team, the culture team to maybe look at something that’s more permanent and more flexible rather than going through this process annually.”

The approval is subject to several routine conditions and subject to no objections being received in any representations submitted as a result of the publicity undertaken.

The Grade II-listed Wearmouth Bridge was built in 1929, replacing an older iron crossing constructed more than 100 years earlier, in 1793.

The Sunderland Illuminations have been staged intermittently since the 1930s.

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