Sunderland 2024 - how millions of pounds will be spent improving the city in the new few years

Millions of pounds of new investment projects have been revealed as council bosses press ahead with their latest budget.

Tuesday, 4th February 2020, 2:43 pm
Updated Tuesday, 4th February 2020, 5:57 pm

Next week, Sunderland City Council’s ruling cabinet will discuss capital spending plans for 2020/21 and beyond.

A raft of proposals were originally revealed by the council last October in a drive to create a more “dynamic, healthy and vibrant” Sunderland in line with the new City Plan.

This included investment in the Riverside area, city centre and seafront, new schools, land acquisitions, a new car park on the Vaux site and a feasibility study for a new Wear footbridge.

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Sunderland Civic Centre

Since the proposals were first tabled, new additions include £59million to develop affordable housing and £10 million to ‘enhance city connectivity.’

Around £2.2million will also go towards a new car park at Clinton Place to support businesses at Doxford International Business Park.

The updated capital programme will be discussed by cabinet on Tuesday, February 11.

Council leader, Coun Graeme Miller, said: “While we are taking advantage of all of the relevant funding sources from the Government, we cannot wait for them to provide the investment that we need.

“For example, unfortunately we do not qualify for funding for our schools – for the additional places and the refurbishment needed to provide a high quality teaching environment – so we are taking control of the situation.

“However, that does mean that we need to borrow money to make these investments.

“But I can assure you that the full financial cost has been factored into our budgets to ensure we are financially responsible.”

The total capital programme up to 2023/2024 amounts to £456.246 million, with £155.563 million earmarked for 2020/21.

More than £270million in new starts and additional investments are also planned, with £63.676 million in 2020/21 and the remainder in future years.

Capital costs will be met through a mixture of external grants, capital receipts such as land sales, council reserves and prudential borrowing.

Coun Miller added that the council’s capital programme “speaks for itself.”

“I have gone on at length about what we’re building, where we’re building and why we’re building it and how Sunderland is taking ownership,” he added.

“We haven’t waited on anybody giving us the money and I haven’t gone crying cap in hand to the Government asking for money as I’m about solving our own problems.

“The team here has done a tremendous job of grabbing Legal & General and bringing them to this city and showing them the opportunity.

“They have seen it and invested more than £100million in us which has brought an awful lot of commercial interest into Sunderland.

“There’s clearly a market in Sunderland for businesses to come here and that will continue.”

Final spending plans will be discussed at a budget meeting on Wednesday, March 4.

Capital investment plans include:

:: £10million to ensure that Sunderland is a digitally-enabled city with a world-class fibre network.

:: A £36.270million development on Farringdon Row supported by a long-term lease with a prospective tenant.

:: A £6.761million funding pot towards feasibility and design works for a footbridge over the Wear, more railway station and Vaux site development, works in Holmeside and more leisure and housing developments.

:: A £9million, 500-space car park on the Vaux site for future occupiers and general city centre use.

:: £15.070million towards Riverside Sunderland Infrastructure to support developments on the Vaux site and surrounding areas.

:: More than £40million million towards ‘strategic land acquisitions that contribute to city regeneration priorities.’

:: £7.5million Crowtree Square retail development on site of former Crowtree Leisure Centre.

:: New build primary schools at Sunningdale (£13.035million), Thorney Close (£6.861million) and Hetton (£4.853million) plus updates of £4.564million at Newbottle Primary and £2.899million at Barnes Junior school.

:: £2million for Seaburn public realm works at Ocean Park.

:: £400,000 for improvements at Jacky Whites Market.

:: £750,000 towards restoring Roker Park Lodge and opening a café, kitchen garden and outside eating area.

:: £650,000 for updating café and events space at Herrington Country Park’s site office.

:: A new £1.365million Cork Street Day Centre for people with physical disabilities.

:: £7.5million for a replacement crematorium.

:: Funding for highways, bridges and other structural maintenance.