Revealed: The eye-catching plans for a 'game changing' new-look Sunderland city centre as leaders look to attract £500million investment by 2030
A 'game-changing' transformation of Sunderland city centre could help attract £500million investment by 2030, civic leaders have said.
Council bosses are confident a new-look city centre will generate major business interest in Wearside in the coming years.
They hope their own spending and decision to relocate to a new City Hall site on the redeveloped Vaux land, will act as a catalyst for up to £300million private sector investment leading up to 2030.
As part of their bold city centre vision, council leaders are working on a series of ambitious plans that they hope to deliver in partnership with private investors.
* More and better homes in the city centre, including new housing planned for the Vaux site.
* An improved choice of bars, restaurants and shopping and more activity-based businesses operating in the city centre.
* A new riverside pedestrian/foot bridge crossing to better connect the Stadium of Light to the city centre.
* An improved railway station on the current site plus better road links into the city delivered as part of Phase 3 of the Sunderland Strategic Transport Corridor project that last week saw the Government pledge £40.5million funding to turn the A1231 into dual carriageway between the southern end of the Northern Spire crossing through to the city centre.
* A cleaner city, with an additional £460,000 funding already committed to frontline services.
* The ongoing regeneration of historic buildings in the Heritage Action Zone, covering Fawcett Street, High Street West and High Street East.
Ahead of the authority's own City Hall plans being discussed at a cabinet meeting on Wednesday, council leader Graeme Miller said: "We want the city centre to be a place
our residents can be proud of, as well as somewhere that people want to live, work and spend time in.
"A declining high street - that reflects the same challenges faced by towns and cities across the country - has left Sunderland in need of investment and though we are seeing green shoots of revival, we have to fast-track the city centre’s transformation.
"We will stimulate confidence in the market by taking brave and bold decisions – decisions like investing in Vaux, and making it as easy as possible for investors to follow suit.
"We have to be ambitious for Sunderland city centre. We’re developing a vision that is just that – that capitalises on investment to date, and attracts more.
"City centres have to adapt and diversify if they're going to survive and this is all about breathing new life into heart of our city and giving it a renewed sense of purpose and vitality.
"We have driven significant investment into Sunderland city centre over the last five years, laying solid foundations for the next ten years to 2030.
"Some of the contents of the emerging city centre vision are work in progress, but we’re looking at a number of really exciting projects that will be made public over the coming weeks and months – projects that will signal to developers that Sunderland is a good place to invest, and to businesses that this is a place they can succeed.
"Progress on the vision is already well underway, with THE BEAM - the first building on the Vaux site - due to open within weeks.
"And with City Hall plans well-developed, there is momentum building. As our vision is delivered, it will be game-changing for the city centre.
"It is essential that we get more people living and working in the city centre in quality jobs, because only by bringing more people into the city can we hope to create the footfall and spending that we need to sustain our shops, restaurants and bars and create a lively evening economy."