Architect George Clarke’s statement that plans for the Vaux site were a ‘wasted opportunity’ has sparked a debate among Echo readers.
Yesterday, the Echo reported on how the Sunderland-born TV presenter had posted a picture of plans to create a 60,000sq ft office building, as well as shops, cafes and a restaurant, on the former brewery site on his Instagram account.
Commenting on the post, which he shared with his 27,000 followers, he said: “Great news that progress is finally being made on the old Vaux Brewery site in Sunderland...but is this really the best masterplan they could come up with for such a prime and important site?
“Very poor urban design solution and a wasted opportunity.”
Work is due to begin shortly on the initial stage of the development after planning permission was granted earlier this year, but the wider masterplan for the site is not yet set in stone.
Developers Siglion say they have since contacted George’s PA to have a chat to him about their plans for the site which has stood derelict since Vaux closed in 1999.
Speaking to the Echo, George said he was keen to share his ideas for the city in the future.
The story was one of our most popular online that day and hundreds of you aired your views on our website and social media.
Opinions were mixed with many supporting the fact that new life will be breathed into the prime spot.
Superflex said: “Not sure what he’s on about. I like the look of this one building that has been designed. We don’t know what the others buildings will look like.”
Syzygy73 said: “Usual negativity!!! In an ideal world, I’d love to see an iconic high rise development, however, let’s be realistic. It’s a simple matter of supply and demand, and commercial viability.”
Others agreed with George about the choice of proposed buildings for the site.
The CitybytheSea said: “It’s important to realise what is constructed on the Vaux site should stand the test of time and be talked about in 100 years or so. Like the museum is, or Elephant Tea Rooms are, or the court building....which is now the centre piece building to Keel Square. The planners need to understand what they construct will be scrutinised for many years to come.”
Mackem Matelow said: “Stopping Tesco from building a huge supermarket was a good step, it’s just a shame that Siglion haven’t managed to make their attempt as appealing as it might have been.
“This piece of land is as valuable as anything in the city, it commands perfect place for access to main roads once the strategic corridor is built, it’s in the heart of the city and close to residential and already established commercial areas as well as the sea front. It should be the development that really gives us pride in the city and make a statement about our intentions for the future, the boxes that are going to be built don’t do that for me, I appreciate it’s personal taste but they could be built anywhere.”
Many have called for George, who rose to fame with hit shows The Restoration Man and George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces, to get involved in the design himself.
Northerndays said: “Why hasn’t George offered to comment before now? He could of got involved months ago if he’s that keen to help the city?”
Rovertdrof said: “If the design and plans ‘are not set in stone’ then why not have George Clarke become engaged in the planning, or any other capable body person etc to throw their ideas at the Council on how the Vaux site should be developed.”