Shipping container cinema and market plans for Seaburn seafront approved

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Plans for a range of pop-up attractions including cinemas, restaurants and cycle hubs have been given the go-ahead.

Temporary permission has been granted for the scheme, which will form part of the regeneration of Seaburn seafront, including the sites of Seaburn Funpark, the Seaburn Centre and the Pullman Lodge Hotel.

The proposals are intended to keep the site in use until permanent development proposals can be submitted and could see activities housed in shipping containers.

But some members of Sunderland City Council’s Development Control (North Sunderland) Sub-Committee, which met yesterday (Tuesday) (April 24), were sceptical about the idea, particularly over how it will leave the area looking and a lack of detail about this in the application.

“I think we all get the planning concept and the temporary need,” said Coun Denny Wilson.

“But as councillors we are leaving the aesthetics [of the scheme] to trust.

“We’ve been done before and we don’t want to be done again.”

The application said the scheme would “enhance the cultural / tourist offer” at the Seaburn, with activities and other attractions including markets, gardens and play spaces.

These would be housed in ‘bespoke shipping containers’, although no further detail on how these might look was provided.

However, a council planning officer sought to assure councillors that similar storage units are used to good effect in towns and cities throughout the UK.

Permission for these to be housed on the site and used for entertainment purposes will last five years and they are intended to be portable, so they can be moved to allow development of the site as permanent development plans are approved.

Responding to concerns, Lawri Bond, of Siglion, which is behind the plans, said: “There currently isn’t a design for the site, but the permanent development will have a design code.

“The application is intended to provide flexibility.

“There’s quite a lot of unknowns in relation to how the site will come forward for permanent development.

“But it also gives us the opportunity to respond to existing businesses which this might provide an opportunity for.”

Councillors voted to approve the scheme by seven votes in favour to one against.

James Harrison

James Harrison , Local Democracy Reporting Service