Talks continue in bid to restart work on Sunderland’s Vaux site

The former Vaux Brewery site viewed from St Mary's Car park. Picture by FRANK REID
The former Vaux Brewery site viewed from St Mary's Car park. Picture by FRANK REID

Discussions are continuing in the hope work will restart on the redevelopment of the Vaux site “as a matter of urgency” in the wake of the Carillion collapse.

Sunderland City Council says talks are continuing between its officials, Siglion - the company it launched with the now-failed construction firm - and liquidators PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

John Seager, chief executive of Siglion.

John Seager, chief executive of Siglion.

Work on the building - at the former brewery site - stopped last Monday when contractor Carillion went out of business.

Councillor Harry Trueman, council deputy leader, said: “The collapse of Carillion only affects construction of Phase 1 of the Vaux Development.

“The council and Siglion are in dialogue with the liquidators PwC to legally expedite, as a matter of urgency, alternative arrangements for the resumption of construction of Vaux Phase 1 at the earliest opportunity possible.”

John Seager, Siglion chief executive, added: “Vaux is a hugely significant development for Sunderland, understandably there has been some concern about what the liquidation of Carillion means for the future of the site.

Our absolute priority remains to deliver a development that the city can be proud of.

John Seager

“We have to follow the direction of liquidator PwC in terms of what we can and cannot say at this time, but we do wish to reassure people that we are doing everything in our power to ensure that work resumes on site as quickly as possible.

“We have been working tirelessly on the process to allow us to move forward as quickly as possible whilst maintaining continuity in terms of the sub-contractors involved and the overall quality of the development.

“Our absolute priority remains to deliver a development that the city can be proud of.”

He added that Siglion is not inviting approaches from companies looking to take over work on site at this time.

Conservative members on the council will ask about Vaux and other Siglion plans, including Seaburn’s regeneration, at a full council meeting tonight.

Group leader Councillor Robert Oliver said: “Residents need to be reassured that the contract drawn up with Carillion does protect the initial investment and that a new contractor can be agreed without a financial penalty.

“We would urge the council to keep in close contact with the receivers, PWC, and ensure transparency as regards the agreement that led to the formation of Siglion.”