The £10million plans to make Sunderland depots 'fit for the future'
A new salt barn to help keep roads gritted in bitter weather is among £10million plans for make Sunderland council depot’s “fit for the future”.
This week, Sunderland City Council’s cabinet backed the next step in plans to revamp two key sites.
Parsons Depot in Washington will be redeveloped as a new base for council highways teams and environmental services.
The £6.854million scheme includes demolition works to make way for a new building alongside vehicle workshops and a salt barn.
An additional £3.004million will also be invested into ‘low carbon infrastructure’ at both Parsons Depot and Jack Crawford House, Hendon.
In action, the project aims to cut costs and reduce the council’s carbon footprint with eco-friendly technology.
With support from a European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) grant, this will be used to support the operation and maintenance of the council’s future electric vehicle (EV) fleet.
On June 18, council bosses agreed to start the process of appointing contractors for the project and to confirm match funding for the ERDF grant over three years.
The project cost stands at £9.858million – with £8.356million from the council and a £1.502million ERDF grant.
Cabinet member for Environment and Transport, Coun Amy Wilson, welcomed the scheme at Sunderland Civic Centre.
“The city council needs to invest in fit-for-future depot facilities to ensure frontline services are delivered effectively across the city, mitigating their environmental impact which is aligned with city plan priorities,” she said.
The changes are set to have environmental benefits, including reduced carbon emissions and improved air quality.
Examples of energy saving measures include rainwater harvesting systems, air source heat pumps, battery storage and new electric vehicle hubs.
A new digital system will also manage and monitor renewable energy use at the depots in future.
According to a cabinet report, the plans will “future proof investment in large electric specialist vehicles as technology advances.”
The project also aims to save the council an estimated £460,000 every year through reduced operational and utility costs.
Council bosses plan to award a contract for the works in January next year.
And works are expected to be completed by December, 2021.