The city of Sunderland is stepping out of the shadows and into the light

Craig Morley
Following a long history of manufacturing, ship building, brewing, mining, potteries and glassmaking, Sunderland has previously been viewed as in the shadow of its neighbouring city. A number of exciting infrastructure improvements and development opportunities are paving the way for the revival of the city with a new identity as a modern, innovative, active and cultural place to live and work.

Sunderland Strategic Transport Corridor (SSTC), International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP) and Port of Sunderland

Increasing the convenience of accessing strategic city-wide locations has been central to developing the wide range of opportunities that are arising throughout the city.

SSTC is a five-phased plan to provide a continuous dual carriageway link between two enterprise zones: the ongoing development of IAMP and the Port of Sunderland. Phase 1 and 2 are now complete following improvements to St Marys Boulevard in the city centre and the construction on the striking new Northern Spire bridge centrepiece. Phase 3 (SSTC 3) has now commenced and will form the critical 2km link between the Northern Spire and the city centre. Phase 4 and 5 will then provide upgrades between the A19 and Northern Spire, greatly improving journey times to the city centre and port from IAMP and the rest of the region.

IAMP is a joint venture between Sunderland and South Tyneside councils, and has been designated as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project as it is expected to deliver up to 371,000sqm of developable floorspace and over 7,000 new jobs, further enhancing the region’s reputation as a centre of excellence for advanced manufacturing.

The park is already encouraging commercial development for advanced manufacturing and European scale supply chain industries with the first phase underway, providing the opportunity to maximise links with Nissan UK and other high value automotive industries.

Town Centre Placemaking and the VAUX Site

The city centre is seeing great improvements and transforming the city as a fantastic destination to work, live, shop and socialise. Plans for the redevelopment of Sunderland Station will help to provide a new exciting welcome to the city for those travelling from further afield.

The Minster Quarter in particular is boosting economic development by providing new commercial development opportunities, while preserving historic buildings such as the Elephant Tea Rooms and also providing better public spaces and access routes through placemaking.

The VAUX site is a mixed-use development and the showpiece of the city centre, linked through the new Keel Square. Phase 1, The Beam has been complete and will soon see its first tenants. The remaining 18 plots will attract office accommodation, residential, retail, food and drink, hotel and leisure opportunities.

Stadium Village and Pedestrian Footbridge

The development of Stadium Village at Sheepfolds is progressing following the completion of the Beacon of Light, which accompanies the Aquatic Centre and Hilton Garden Hotel. Creating a mixed-use leisure village around the Stadium of Light is key to the aim of Sunderland becoming an active and healthy city. This in turn is sparking the regeneration of other land to the south of the Stadium of Light for residential housing and mixed-use properties, leading to an attractive setting to put down roots.

Increased access between stadium village, the VAUX site and the city centre is planned to be provided through a new pedestrian footbridge. This will make ‘city living’ in Sunderland more attractive with more opportunities to both work and live in modern surroundings within the city.

The opportunities in Sunderland for commercial and residential developers are vast and Faithful+Gould together with Atkins has been proud to have played a key role in some of the enablers for the development by delivering Northern Spire, while also providing support during the design of SSTC phase 3.

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