Work to start next month on £1.5m reconstruction of collapsed quayside in Sunderland

Proposals to reconstruct a section of Sunderland quayside have been given the go-ahead by council bosses.

Wednesday, 16th June 2021, 5:37 pm
A section of the riverside was fenced off.
A section of the riverside was fenced off.

This week, Sunderland City Council’s ruling cabinet discussed a report and update about the section of Panns Quay East that slipped into the River Wear earlier this year.

Contractors and city council engineers had begun works on investigating cracks in the quayside footpath and noted further movement before a huge section fell into the river on the night of March 16.

Sections of the piling had become weakened and failed as a result of water seeping into the foundations.

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Panns Bank March 2021 view to the east 24 hours after slippage. Source: Sunderland City Council

A budget of around £200,000 was already allocated for preliminary works and a condition survey – however the full rebuild is now costed at £1.5 million.

Councillor Claire Rowntree, deputy leader of the council, presented an update on the reconstruction works to cabinet on Tuesday (June 15), which was held at Sunderland Civic Centre.

Cllr Rowntree said: “Not undertaking this option has been rejected due to the absence of the original sheet pile wall.

“[This] would inevitably result in further erosion of the riverside footpath area and further collapse of the remaining sheet pile wall within the vicinity, together with the increased risk of washout/destablisation of the adjacent university building foundations and a more significant cost.”

Panns Bank March 2021 view to the east 24 hours after slippage. Source: Sunderland City Council

The works zone had been fenced off to prevent public access before the collapse.

Initial repair and salvage works are already under way to remove debris from the river and prepare the area for the rebuild.

Following discussion, the cabinet agreed to take all necessary steps to procure the delivery and completion of the reconstruction works.

Due to the need to repair the collapsed area of the quayside as soon as possible, the council agreed to directly award a contract to ARM Pipetek as principal contractor.

The meeting heard that the appointment will be in accordance with the council’s constitution and procurement regulations.

A cabinet report added the reconstruction works will “safeguard against the risk of further undermining and destabilization of adjacent structures; the risks associated with the general public and river users and prevents any impact on the functionality of the structure as a berthing facility.”

Following the cabinet decision, works are expected to start in July 2021.