Sunderland City Council takes 'full control' over regeneration company Siglion

Council chiefs are now solely at the helm of the regeneration company tasked with transforming communities across Wearside.

Thursday, 30th May 2019, 11:30 am
The Beam has been built on the former Vaux Brewery site.
The Beam has been built on the former Vaux Brewery site.

Siglion, which was set up almost five years ago, was charged with projects on a number of key sites in Sunderland, including the former Vaux site, Seaburn's seafront and a series of housing developments.

But its future was put into question with the collapse of its construction partner Carillion in January last year, which brought work on the Vaux plot to a halt for months before Tolent Construction entered into a deal to finish off the site.

Sunderland City Council leader Graeme Miller.

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The council says the move to bring Siglion entirely in house will "move into its next stage."

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Read more: 10 questions on the impact of Carillion’s collapse on Sunderland

The council has said it made the decision in March to take full control - which has also seen development manager Igloo leave the company - but that it has only been able to confirm the move following purdah, which was in place due to the local and European elections.

The Seaburn Centre as it was demolished last October, clearing the way for a new development under Siglion.

The council has said it has ambitious new plans for the city centre and the wider area, the change will allow it to take "full control of the city’s destiny" and "build on the momentum achieved by Siglion to date".

It says as Siglion did not have staff on its books, as they were employed by Igloo, the workers have returned to that company to work on other projects.

The Echo understands John Seager, its chief executive, is working on setting up his own business.

Council leader Councillor Graeme Miller said: “Five years ago, despite seeing some significant projects moving forward in the city, we almost certainly couldn’t have delivered the

step-change needed without a development partner like Carillion to strengthen our position.

"There can be no doubt that the partnership secured the momentum we needed, and with Igloo on board, we were able to assemble a ready-made team of experts, with vast experience of urban regeneration.

However, with plans emerging for the city centre, that will be led by the council’s executive team, and a decision about whether to engage a new partner, or indeed to move forward alone, following Carillion’s collapse, it was clear that taking full control was the right thing to do, in order to capitalise on the momentum Siglion has gathered and to ensure we are able to execute our plan for Sunderland.”

He added: “We’re moving forward with exciting plans for the city centre and Seaburn in particular, and we’re looking forward to sharing more with you all over the coming months.”

The council has said "changes will see an energised new delivery team appointed to the council," taking over operational management of the city’s development activity.

It added it wants to to realise the aims of its new city plan for a healthy, dynamic, vibrant Sunderland, as well as delivering ambitious plans for the regeneration of the city centre and Seaburn, among other areas.

A board will be formed to provide "robust governance, ensuring that work is on track to deliver against the needs of the city."

Siglion also owns industrial, retail and office properties which are rented out.