Sunderland's Vaux Brewery bids to transform seafront shelter into 'craft beer cafe'

Proposals for a “craft beer café” development on Sunderland’s seafront have been unveiled.

Wednesday, 15th December 2021, 4:14 pm
Updated Thursday, 16th December 2021, 11:24 am

Sunderland City Council’s planning department has received an application for buildings at Marine Walk, near Grannie Annie’s Pub and Pantry.

The masterminds behind the scheme are excited by the plans and say the transformation could be complete towards the end of next year.

According to the planning submission, the application includes buildings and land adjoining the old resort/tourist office, including storage and a shelter.

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Vaux Brewery's Michael Thompson.

The new plans aim to revamp the site with a new café/bar with hot and cold food sales and an outdoor seating area.

Sunderland-based Vaux Brewery, which re-established the legendary brand in 2019 and has a tap room in Monk Street, is listed as the official applicant for the scheme.

Michael Thompson, Vaux Brewery co-director, described the concept as a “craft beer café” serving food and coffees during the day and more of a craft beer offering on the evening.

This includes beers being served from “all over the world” as well as potential scope for live music in the future.

“We’re really excited for what we can do with the building,” Mr Thompson said.

“Towards the back end of next year we will be ready to trade if we’re successful with the planning application.

“We want to make it a real destination and a real good addition to the city and seafront.”

Supporting statements submitted with the planning application state the proposals would help to regenerate the site by repairing and refurbishing the existing structures.

This includes external alterations, re-roofing and the infilling of the open shelter area, as well as the installation of extraction equipment.

In addition, the application form states four full-time and four part-time employees are proposed for the development.

A planning, design and access statement submitted with the application states the scheme would provide a “new commercial/recreational use in an established leisure destination”.

The statement reads: “The proposed development scheme does not impinge on the maritime and seaside character of this wider environs, providing continuity.”

It adds: “The public realm would be improved by these proposals, as the site is in need of refurbishment and new use.

“Ease of movement and access is ensured around the development by the existing pavements along the promenade.

“The proposals are legitimate and legible in this seaside, tourist setting; eminently suitable for this rather small, niche site and complement and provide modest competition with the other leisure uses in this locality.”

The statement adds that the scheme would “not prevent the land/site/buildings being again adapted or diversified should that be seen as necessary in the future”.

It goes on to say :“This new local leisure and recreation facility is something which will add to the offer of the city, and will also ease pressures on other establishments along Marine Walk, providing competition and a different experience.”

A decision on the planning application is expected in January 2022 after council consultation has concluded.

For more information on the application or to track its progress, visit Sunderland City Council’s online planning portal and search reference 21/02778/FU4