Stranglers frontman Baz Warne welcomes plans for 4,000-capacity music venue in Sunderland

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ONE of Sunderland’s biggest home-grown musicians has welcomed plans for a new gig venue.

Music-makers and fans across the city have largely praised plans to create a 4,000-capacity venue at the area around the Stadium of Light.

An outline planning application submitted by the Foundation of Light – which would see the creation of a venue twice the size of the 02 Academy in Newcastle – has been accepted by Sunderland City Council.

The Stranglers frontman Baz Warne says it would be the kind of venue bands like his, whose hits include Golden Brown, would love to play.

On their tours, the alternative band usually have to miss out Sunderland, aside from a couple of one-off gigs in North Shore, because it’s lacking a suitable venue.

“I think a music venue at Stadium Village would be unbelievable,” said Baz who still lives in Sunderland.

“It would be great to do it there for a number of reasons. There’s plenty of parking and good access for people, plus it’s not too residential which can be a reason some venues fail, when residents’ groups complain.

“If you look at what Sunderland has got, this is something it really needs.

“You have the Empire which no one plays because it’s not a rock venue, after that you have medium-sized pubs like The Alex. There is a thriving pub scene, like The Smugglers, but this is a big city and The Mayfair was the last decent middle-sized venue it had.

“It needs that custom-made music venue with good sound.”

The live venue would be housed in the proposed Beacon of Light sports complex on a floating floor above a purpose-built 3G pitch in a 12,500 sq metre sports hall.

A temporary stage and audio-visual equipment would be put in place when the 51 x 93 metre hall is not used for sports.

It would be supported by a three-storey front-of-house area, with a foyer, comprising a reception and ticket office and merchandise sales area.